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Full text of "An adventure in Alaska during the gold excitement of 1897-1898 (a personal experience)"



AN ADVENTURE 
IN ALASKA 



By Bruce Gotten 



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Aldine Book Co. 
Brooklyn N.Y» 

Dear Mr. Gold, - 

I have examined your two catalogues with very great 
care and find thens of ?reat interest. The preperation of such 
catalogues require an omence amount of pains and labor and I 
congratulate you. 

I have a considerable ntunber of the items listed, 
others I would have to see before knowing whether I should want them 
or not while a large amount of the material, very definitely has 
no place in a privet collection such as mine. You are entirely right 
in trying to sell to some College or Public Library, for much of it 
could not be handled in a prive*- collection- 

I have noted a large number of items that appear 
interesting and suitable for me and some day, I will give you 
advance notice and would li' a to come over and look over anything 
you can show me. With many thanks and wishing you much good luck. 
1 am. 

Slncer^y you 



I would appreciate quotations on good individual items and 
early North Carolina imprints from time to time, BC. 



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AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

DURING THE GOLD EXCITEMENT 

OF 

1897- 1898 



(,A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE) 



By 
Bruce Gotten. 



BALTIMORE. 

1922. 



The Sun Printing OfBee 
Baltimore. 



Copyright, 1922. 




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Cylburn 
Baltimore - Maryland. 

March 14, 1922. 
Col, and Mrs. Robert R. Gotten, 
Cottendnle, N. C. 

My dear Father and Mother : — 

You have both several times expressed to me a wish 
that I would, sometime, write up for you some of my 
experiences which you think in some cases have been 
unusual. 

You have especially desired that I should tell of three 
particular events — my trip to Alaska, in 1897, my experi- 
ences in China during the Boxer War of 1900, and my 
two years in Luzon during the Tagalog Insurrection, 
1901-1902. 

As my trip to Alaska was the first of these occurrences, 
naturally it should be first related, leaving the other two 
to follow when time and circumstances permit. 

Recently I found a manuscript and some extensive 
notes of this Alaska trip, made immediately upon my 
return and finished later while I was stationed at Fort 
Flagler in 1904. These I have gone over and put together 
in this little book. 

It is written in a conversational way, rather in the 
American language than the English, I should say, and 
of course, makes no pretence to any literary merit. 

Whatever it is, it is a true and intimate relation, and 
I take great pleasure in presenting it to you, for your 
amusement and entertainment, and for the entertainment 
of such of our friends as may be interested. 

Your devoted son, 

550525 



F^O'j 



TO MY WIFE, WHO. AFTER ALL, WAS 
HERSELF THE LITTLE NUGGET AND 
GREAT POSSESSION THAT THIS 
AND MY OTHER EFFORTS WERE 
LEADING TO. 



CONTENTS. 

Pages 
Chapter I — From Cottendale to Seattle i- 15 

Chapter II — The Organization of the Party. . .16- 26 

Chapter III — From Seattle to Sitka 27- 39 

Chapter IV — Sitka and Yakutat 40- 54 

Chapter V — In the Woods 55- 71 

Chapter VI— The Retreat 72-92 

Chapter VII — Back to Seattle 93-107 



CHAPTER I. 

From Cottendale to Seattle, 

In May, 1897, the Alaska Commercial Company's 
steamship Portland arrived at Seattle from St. Michael's, 
Alaska, and, proceeding to her dock, unloaded, among 
other things from her cargo, one ton of gold nuggets. 

This remarkable consignment belonged to some half 
dozen individuals who reported the discovery of a won- 
derfully rich, new placer country known as the Klondike. 
Such a cargo from a hitherto unknown land would at any 
time have caused a tremendous excitement. There were, 
however, some additional reasons and temporary condi- 
tions which greatly increased the excitement and interest 
that followed. 

In the first place, all the great commercial and real 
estate interest in the Northwest were at that time suffer- 
ing very severe depression, and this discovery, with all 
its accompanying glamor, was immediately heralded and 
attractively advertised with the hope that in this discov- 
ery impending ruin would be stayed. 

In the second place, there was universal business de- 
pression throughout the country, especially in the agri- 
cultural States, so that the discovery was announced at 
a time when public attention was particularly receptive 
and many thousands were either dissatisfied with or en- 
tirely out of their usual occupations. 

The excitement and rush that followed was really one 
of the greatest in the history of the world, though the 
Spanish-American War, following as it did in a few 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

months, diverted public interest, and the Klondike rush 
will not be so well remembered in history as the days of 
'49 in California or the later excitement in Australia. 
Some idea of the magnitude of the movement can be 
gathered, however, from the statement that 25,000 
farmers in Iowa alone quitted the plow shaft^nd betook 
themselves in search of the bag of gold that in this case 
hung at the end of the aurora borealis. 

Almost as many went from several other central States, 
and altogether it is conservative to estimate that 350,000 
people left their homes between the months of June and 
December and turned their faces to the midnight sun. 
These people, almost without exception, had no knowl- 
edge whatever of mining, or conception of the conditions 
they would have to encounter. A surprisingly large per- 
centage were farmers, who had sold or mortgaged their 
farms for the purpose of undertaking this adventure, and 
this class were particularly unfortunate and unsuccessful, 
for they had left real homes behind, had no understanding 
whatever of what they were trying to do and are as a class 
most difficult to adjust to radical changes. Thousands 
got no further than San Francisco, Seattle or Portland, 
where they became stranded through different causes, 
very many through the operations of confidence men. 
Other thousands got as far as Juneau, Diea or Skagway. 
Very many were turned back at the Canadian custom 
house because they did not possess the requisite amount 
of provisions to go on to the interior. 

These people would then offer their supplies and out- 
fits for sale, so that for some time all supplies and articles' 
of equipment could be bought on the trail below and above 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

Lake Bennette for a small fraction of their cost in Seat- 
tle. A new town — Skagway — was established at the foot 
of the White Pass, and in a few months had a population 
of 25,000. 

There were still other thousands who scattered them- 
selves in all the bays and inlets on the coast, particu- 
larly in Prince William's Sound, Cook's Inlet, Bristol' 
•Bay, Norton and Kotzebue Sounds. It is curious to 
note that some of these places are fully a thousand miles 
from the Klondike. Think of a man stampeding to Texas 
or Mexico upon the announcement of a gold strike at 
Cripple Creek! Yet that is, in distance and effect, ex- 
actly what many hundreds did. I remember distinctly 
that in Seattle in those early days the names Klondike and 
Alaska were synonymous ; they meant one and the same 
thing to the would-be gold hunter, and he entirely failed 
to note that the Klondike was not even in Alaska at all, 
and that Alaska itself is a country of huge proportions, 
being three times the size of France and greatly exceeding 
in area all the thirteen original States combined. 

A person remarking to a friend in Seattle today that 
he is going to Alaska would probably be asked "outside 
or in," by which would be meant "are you going to the 
interior or will you remain on the coast?" Alaska "in- 
side" and Alaska "outside" are indeed two very different 
countries, as different as North Carolina and Newfound- 
land, and as far apart in places. 

There were no such terms in the days of the rush, for 
no one knew anything at all about Alaska, either "inside" 
or "out," even the government maps being merely out- 
lines of the coast and entirely inaccurate. 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

This indifference or ignorance of the geography of the 
great Northwest is still very prevalent, and the story goes 
that one of our Postmaster-Generals in recent years 
caused a letter to be written to the Postmaster at Dawson 
City, inquiring why certain reports had not been ren- 
dered as required by Department regulations. The Post- 
master replied that the regulation in question had indeed 
been received, but since his office was fully one hundred 
miles within British territory, he had thought it more 
advisable to make his reports to Ottawa. 

It is difficult to explain how I came to be attracted to 
and finally drawn into this motley mass that was surging 
toward the north. There are periods, I presume, in every 
person's life when they are possessed by some mysterious 
force that compels them to some certain action, though 
that action may not be well reasoned and is often the 
opposite of what we would ordinarily expect that par- 
ticular person to do. Certainly in my own life I have had 
several such experiences when I have determined upon 
courses apparently not based upon good reasoning, but 
have been compelled to them notwithstanding. 

This is the force, I presume, that some criminologists 
claim is responsible for most of our criminals. However 
that may be, in my case at least, it has never taken that 
form, but has served rather as stepping-stones, so to speak, 
to my present high state of contentment and happiness. 

When the riches of the Klondike were first heralded 
to the world, I was at Cottendale, my father's plantation 
home in North Carolina. This home was as pleasant and 
as happy, I presume, as could be found. We were a close 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

and devoted family, not rich, but possessing every essen- 
tial of life and happiness. Our community, though rural, 
was wholesome and conservative. Some sleepy remnants 
of ante-bellum days still lingered on the countryside; 
many old slaves were in a way companions of my boy- 
hood days and constant reminders of the vanished pomps 
of yesterday. Older people sometimes spoke of Yankee 
raids and Reconstruction, but these things had been set- 
tled, I supposed, though it was some years before I under- 
stood how father had lost that war, so big and strong and 
right he seemed to me. In short, my surroundings had 
always been comfortable and sweet, and there was noth- 
ing further desired, perhaps, unless it was opportunity 
for some more active future than anything here afforded. 

Anyway, it is certain that I was deeply restive at that 
time. I was just of age, and the first great change had 
to take place in my affairs. Most fortunately, my father 
and mother seemed, in some mysterious way, to know 
this, without understanding it, perhaps, any more than I 
did. They knew then that it takes a boy a long time to 
become a man, and they knew also many other things 
obscure to me for some years yet. This was indeed for- 
tunate, for a crisis was at hand within me. They seemed 
to know this, too, and certainly they knew how to meet it. 

I became completely obsessed with the idea of going to 
the Klondike, though, so far as I was able to learn, no 
single other person in that entire country was in any way 
impressed as I was. All seemed to regard my intention 
as a singular idea and somewhat dangerous lark, which 
in reality of course it was. The difficulty of properly 
financing myself upon such an undertaking was indeed 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

real, and I offered to organize myself into a kind of 
stock company and permit a few friends to take stock in 
the adventure. This flotation, however, was not a suc- 
cess, and I started with a very small capital indeed, though 
unincumbered by any fear of stockholders' meetings or 
crooked manipulation of myself while away, 

I left about the first of October for Seattle. My ulti- 
mate destination was the Klondike, which I knew was 
somewhere in the vicinity of Alaska. I had never seen 
a gold mine, or a mine of any description in my life, not 
even a miner; in fact, gold dust and brass filings all 
looked alike to me. 

The sum total of my knowledge of life was indeed 
small and far too provincial to be of any service in an 
undertaking of this nature. And let me say here that it 
was my rearing, environs and background that were both 
my weakness and strength at that time. They had in no 
way prepared me for the sort of world that I was about 
to meet, yet in this same process they had laid a foun- 
dation of something that saved me absolutely in the end. 
The first I was painfully conscious of early in this strug- 
gle; the second I was not conscious of until some years 
afterwards. It is well to remember this in connection 
with some positions in which I am found later on in this 
paper. 

I went west by way of Nashville, Tenn., where I stopped 
for a day or two and visited a Centennial then going on. 
I found here in my hotel a young lady who had often 
visited my sister at Cottendale. She was the last of the 
old crowd that I saw for eight years to come, and my 
heart was sad and very, very full when I said good-bye. 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

I spent a night in St. Louis, part of a day at Colorado 
Springs, and, passing over the Rockies, skirted the shores 
of the great Salt Lake. I was fully mindful of the great- 
ness of the trip, the first that I had ever taken ; was aston- 
ished at the plains and amazed at the great Rocky Moun- 
tains. 

I met and conversed with many curious people, and 
had traveled from St. Louis in an emigrant car. These 
cars, I believe, are not used in the West now ; at least I 
have not seen one for many years. They were provided 
with cooking stoves in one end whereon passengers could 
prepare their food, and the chairs were great tilting 
things, much like barber chairs, which when tilted served 
as beds by night. 

From Ogden I went by way of the Oregon Short Line 
through Portland and on to Seattle, having made the 
entire trip for about $70. 

At some place in Missouri two young men, brothers, 
boarded my train. They were going to Seattle, and from 
there to Whatcom, where an uncle lived. They were 
about my age, and were mechanics. They were respecta- 
ble young fellows, and we made the trip together. In 
some way they had heard of the Globe Hotel in Seattle, 
so we decided to go there. This proved quite fortunate, 
for the Globe was just the place we should have been., v-Tt 
proved to be a rather large and roomy place on First 
Avenue. It was not by any means a fashionable hotel, 
but it was clean and well run for what it was, and was 
conducted by a German (Krous) and his wife, who were 
so kind to me and took such an interest in me that I have 
a regard for them to this day. Kaiser and Crown Prince 
notwithstanding. 

7 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Living in Seattle was amazingly cheap in those days. 
I got a good room here for $2.50 per week, and in many 
places a good meal could be had for 50 cents. 

This seemed strange to me, seeing that the town was 
crowded and packed with people, but Seattle then knew 
something that I did not know for some time to come. 
That was that this crowd, in the venacular of the street, 
was "dead broke." Nine-tenths of these people who were 
incessantly talking of their millions would come around 
quietly and borrow a "two-bit" piece. 

I found Seattle a seething mass of excited humanity. 
Everybody was either already a millionaire or expected 
to be one right away. As for myself, I do not recall at 
this writing exactly how much I considered myself worth 
at that time; however, I know I felt very comfortable 
and well off so far as my future financial condition was 
concerned. 

It is impossible for one who has never participated in 
a rush of this kind to understand how completely the 
excitement can possess you. It amounts to a frenzy ; it is 
epidemic and sweeps over a community like the measles. 
It respects neither age, experienc€*>pr wisdom, but is a 
form of reciprocal insanity which completely upsets the 
throne of reason, and you follow at the heels of the 
jackass of folly as complacently as if you had always be- 
longed there. 

There were here young girls of good raising from the 
East, old women in bloomers, ministers of the Gospel, 
gamblers, criminals and gentlemen adventurers of every 
nationality. The streets were crowded night and day, 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

and a multitude almost fought for transportation on the 
docks and at the ticket offices. 

Every conceivable form of floating craft had been im- 
pressed for this service, and some indeed that had been 
condemned and idle for years. Once I saw a man on the 
dock push his cane far up into the rotten side of a ship 
that was about to sail. This ship sailed with more than 
a hundred aboard, and was never heard of again. A 
number of other incidents of this kind could be cited. 

Very many novel and absurd devices for packing and 
traveling, chemicals that would keep you warm in winter 
and free from mosquitoes in summer, were sold in large 
quantities by street peddlers and afterwards scattered on 
all the trails of the north. 

And then there was, too, always on hand the man who 
had been all over that country before, and who, for the 
price of a drink, was anxious to take you aside and give 
you valuable and very confidential information. ^Clairvoy- 
ants and other classes of Xv Ua tffi readers were doing a 
thriving business. The town was simply teeming with 
schemers and confidence men of every description and 
degree of crookedness and dissipation. 

Dogs were in great demand, and I remember seeing a 
carload brought in from the East, and they were of every 
known species, yet undoubtedly disposed of at good profit. 

All this made life very curious in Seattle in those days. 
Most of this crowd were very rough and a bankrupt lot, 
who had in some way got themselves thus far and were 
now, like myself, hoping by hook or crook to find some 
means to continue on. Many of them lived in a very pre- 
carious and uncertain way, mostly in saloons and gam- 



9 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

bling dens that were very plentiful and never closed night 
or day, Sundays included. 

Seattle was what you call a wide-open town, which 
means that it had been made safe for every conceivable 
form of crookedness, vice and crime. These conditions, 
in some respects, were indeed indescribable. 

Such an assemblage under such conditions will prob- 
ably never occur again, and the opportunity for the study 
of crowd psychology was marvelous. However, I was' 
too young and inexperienced at the time to be conscious of 
this side of the picture, and too absorbed myself in being a 
part of it. 

I had letters to a number of well-known people in 
Seattle, but as these were social, I decided not to present 
myself, since my abode and most of my associates were 
of a kind calculated to embarrass, I thought, rather than 
please any people I had access to in this way. 

Nevertheless, I met a few respectable people, among 
them a Mr. and Mrs. Francisco, who were on their honey- 
moon. She was the daughter of an Episcopal clergy- 
man, and through her I met Mr. and Mrs. Charles Mc- 
Allester and their charming young daughter, Grace. These 
people I afterwards got to know well, and they have al- 
ways been my devoted friends. Grace was indeed lovely, 
and would have been an ideal heroine for this story. But 
this is the tale of a failure, and in these heroines do not 
enter. She is a married woman now and the mother of 
several grown children, I believe. 

Another person that I saw much of at that time was 
old Mr. Wikeoff, one of those sweet old derelicts that 
you often meet in life, just drifting around with the cur- 



io 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

rent, living no one knows how, but always with the boys 
and hopeful still. His faith in me never wavered, and I 
wrote him often for years, until one day no answer came. 

Quite by accident I met Mr. Gilbert Kidder of Wil- 
mington, North Carolina. Mr. Kidder was much older 
than I was and a gentleman of refined taste and ideas. He 
was shocked to find me living at the Globe Hotel, and 
more shocked still when I told him that I was going 
north with some of that yellow, smelly mob that seethed 
around us. 

He endeavored to dissuade me, and even threatened to 
telegraph my mother, but finding me determined he be- 
came quite interested and did everything he could for my 
pleasure, taking me to see people in the evening, among 
them many that I have known well since. 

It is a long way along the social scale from Mr. Kidder 
to Jesse Lang, the next character I must introduce here, 
Mr. Kidder and Jesse Lang would have mutually re- 
pelled each other on sight. They were of different clay, 
yet both my friends. 

Very shortly after my arrival in Seattle I met, or rather 
ran into, as we did in those days, Jesse Lang. He was 
at my hotel. Jesse was a Tar Heel from Buncombe 
County. That was enough to make us close friends un- 
der the circumstances. Otherwise Jess was a powerful 
fellow, of plain stock, about 36 years of age, and a bar- 
tender by trade. With him was a Pole named Romeo, 
which I assume to be Romesesky Americanized. Romeo 
was about 55 years of age. He told me that his people 
were of splendid class in Poland, but that his entire fam- 
ily, father, mother, sisters and brothers, along with their 



II 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

village, had been exiled to Siberia back in the sixties, 
and that he had never heard a word from any of them 
since. He himself had escaped this fate by being at 
school in France at the time. He had come to America 
as a young man, had served five years in the army and 
had for many years now been a bartender in Ashville, 
North Carolina. 

These two men had been attracted to Seattle exactly 
as I had, and, like myself, were now looking for some 
opportunity to go on to the magnetic North. Naturally 
we were drawn together under these circumstances, and a 
kind of "triple entente" sprang up between us which 
seemed very excellent to me, especially whenever I looked 
at Jesse's great back, his powerful arms and his 225 
pounds of solid weight. Such an ally, I thought, might 
be very good, and so it was. 

Poor Jess, he was ever faithful to the "entente," but 
his trip to the north seemed to unbalance him, and he 
committed suicide in Butte, Montana, during the fall of 
1898. 

One day Jess came to me and said that he thought that 
he had found the thing that we wanted, and asked me to 
go with him to see the head man. He took me to see a 
man called George Stinson. Stinson was very myste- 
rious about the matter, would tell us very little about it, 
except in a vague way; that his party was to leave soon; 
that they wanted just three more men; that they were 
going up on their own boat, and that the affair was being 
backed by the Standard Oil Company — this latter very 
confidentially, after Jess had paid for the drinks, for we 
were in a saloon. Indeed, the entire business of Seattle, in 



12 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

those days, seemed to be conducted in saloons, and only 
very minor details considered far from the bar. He prom- 
ised to come in the morning and take us to see the real 
boss, whose name he said was Rennick. Jess and I de- 
cided that if we could go with this party we would do so. 
The name Standard Oil sounded very good and substan- 
tial to me, besides it was getting very late and we had to 
do something shortly. 

The next morning Stinson took us to the Great North- 
ern Hotel and into a luxurious room, wherein sat the 
man known as George Rennick. This man's appearance 
and manner was the most peculiar and bewildering that I 
have ever seen, and he had a curious effect upon me. He 
was dressed in a suit of orange-colored *'mackinaw,"*blue 
shirt and boots. His hat, which he did not remove, was 
a slouchy cross between that of a Mexican cowboy and a 
Montana rancher. A bottle of whiskey sat on the table, 
and a few gold nuggets lay carelessly by. But more of 
him later. Rennick looked us over keenly, asked no ques- 
tions and then, talking very rapidly, said, as nearly as I 
can recall : "Yes, you will do. There is only one thing — 
keep your damn mouths shut and ask no questions. Sign 
this contract and get to hell out of here. George will 
explain to you. Hurry up!" 

I was completely dumfounded, and had no resistance 
of any kind in me. We all signed and got out, not even 
having a copy for ourselves. 



* Mackinaw — A heavy, thick, plaid material, the design of which 
is large and striking; in a local, U. S. sense, a blanket or short 
double-breasted coat. 



13 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Stinson, who from now on will be referred to as 
George, then explained that we had signed a contract to 
go to Alaska for a period of two years, the company to 
pay all expenses of every description, and in addition 
thereto we were to be allowed the sum of $i per day, 
which could accumulate in one of the banks here or would 
be paid to any relative desired monthly. George was 
careful to explain here that this was done because one 
member of the party was married and his wife had some 
need of support while he was away ; otherwise, of course, 
the company would not have bothered about paying a 
paltry dollar a day to a lot of men who would so soon be 
well off in their own right. But having to do it for one, 
it was best to treat all alike, even in small things of this 
kind. 

In addition to this, the contract gave us a one-half 
ownership in all claims staked and all metal brought out. 
I will say here that this contract was, I think, a very fair 
one, and was honestly lived up to by the company besides. 
Before leaving Seattle I called upon a Mr. Gray, who 
was president of a national bank on Second Avenue, and 
he assured me that the money was there and would be 
paid as directed monthly. 

Shortly after this we were taken with the other men 
of the party to an outfitter and told to purchase anything 
at all that we wanted for the trip. This we did in a very 
lavish way, getting far more than we could use and 
everything of the best quality. Certainly the company, 
whoever they were, spent a considerable sum in this mat- 
ter, for our provisions also were most plentiful and ex- 
cellent in quality, besides being especially packed. No 



14 



FROM COTTENDALE TO SEATTLE 

party ever left better equipped or more completely out- 
fitted than we were. 

We also visited the steam schooner Augusta, lying in 
the harbor, which had been purchased by the company for 
the purpose of taking us up. She was a trim-looking little 
ship of 70 tons burden, and her forecastle was being 
made ready to receive us aboard. 

I have now arrived at a stage in this narrative where 
the reader, in order to at all understand the movements 
that follow, must know a number of things that were 
entirely unknown to me at that time. That is, the reader 
must know now, how and why this party was organized. 
Otherwise, the narrative would be entirely unintelligible, I 
fear, in places; besides, the organization of this party 
is in itself a most interesting study. The work of a mas- 
ter mind, the mind of a man so clever in crookedness that 
you are dazzled by his performance and so admire his 
cleverness that you forget that he is a crook. 



i'? 



CHAPTER II. 
The Organization of the Party. 

The prime mover and master mind in the organization 
of this party of which I was now a member was a Mr. 
Homer Pennick. I have never seen this Mr. Pennick, 
but during my stay in Alaska and upon my return I 
learned much of him and his extraordinary career. What- 
ever can be said against Mr. Pennick, it is admitted by all 
that he is no ordinary crook, and I have failed to discover 
a single individual who seemed to harbor the slightest 
bitterness or ill-will toward him. Gen. W. G. Le Due of 
Minnesota is said to have known more about him than 
anyone else, and I regret that I could not have seen Gen- 
eral Le Due before his death and told him of this expe- 
rience, for General Le Due was a friend of my family and 
was sometimes at Cottendale when I was a young man, 
and was himself a man of very extraordinary knowledge 
and experiences in life. 

However, Mr. Pennick is remembered by a large num- 
ber of other prominent men in this country, who pro- 
nounce him the most talented confidence man that ever 
operated on this continent. His genius in crookedness 
amounted to greatness, it is said, and even after you know 
this, it is difficult to withhold your confidence and respect. 

He is described as a faultlessly groomed man with 
irresistible manners, whose occupation has always been 
separating American millionaires from some of their hard- 

i6 



THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY 

earned cash, for be it remembered that Pennick always 
went for big game. The man with a few thousand was 
always safe in his hands, and he is ever ready to help a 
fellow who is down on his luck. 

The last I heard of him he was said to be residing on 
a beautiful estate on the Rhine, where he could enjoy that 
quiet and freedom of action that might be to some degree 
interfered with here. 

It seems that Mr. Pennick first came into some notoriety 
back in the seventies. At that time there was quite a 
prosperous little mining district around Port Arthur, on 
the Canadian side of Lake Superior. Mr. Pennick came 
into this district and purchased from the Canadian Gov- 
ernment some 24,000 acres of land, paying therefor $1 
per acre. He had this land surveyed and laid off into 
sections and had some maps and blueprints prepared. 
He then smuggled in eleven barrels of tin ore from Eng- 
land, and salted it down on this property. The following 
year he sent out a prospecting party, who returned with 
magnificent specimens of tin ore. With this ore, his 
maps and deeds for the property he organized a company 
in New York City and sold some $800,000 worth of 
stock. Early the next summer the stock owners, for 
some reason, became suspicious and sent out an explor- 
ing party on their own responsibility. The whole fraud 
was then exposed, even the empty barrels from the Corn- 
wall Tin Mines found and brought down to New York. 
It is not known exactly how Mr. Pennick got out of this 
affair. It is known that he was in prison for awhile, and 
some say he bribed a judge. Anyway, he shortly after- 



17 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

wards appeared in the mining districts of the West, where 
he became known as the most successful swindler in the 
trade. 

After being connected with various big and shady 
transactions, he finally, by accident it is said, got control 
of one of the best properties in Colorado. This was a 
mine called the Robert E. Lee, and this he sold to an 
English syndicate for something like a million dollars. 
We next hear of him as a plunger on the Chicago Ex- 
change, where he became bankrupt in a short time. He 
then returned to the mining business, but, being too well 
known in the West now for success along his lines, he 
went to Cook's Inlet, in Alaska, a district which had for 
years been yielding placer gold in modest quantities. Here 
he selected a site for a town which he named Homer for 
himself, and staked off a certain amount of the adjoining 
country as mining claims. 

It seems that he was here when he heard of the dis- 
covery of the Klondike. He at once started out, and on 
the way down met the man who was to be his assistant 
and partner in carrying out some of his future opera- 
tions. This man was George Rennick, the same that I 
saw first at the Great Northern Hotel, and whose dis- 
patch in business matters had so amazed me. 

Rennick was himself a swindler of some note, having 
served a term in a Federal prison for his connection with 
a mining swindle known as "The Little Bear's Nest." 
Rennick was a much commoner type of criminal than 
Pennick. Nothing was too small for him to steal or too 
dirty for his undertaking. He was a man of extraordi- 
nary cunning and knowledge of human nature, but his 

i8 



THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY 

most valuable qualities to Pennick were his manners, 
appearance and dress, which were exactly what the East- 
ern imagination had pictured that of a prosperous Klon- 
diker to be. This pair, having arrived in Seattle on the 
same steamer, at once began to lay plans for a wholesale 
robbery of Eastern people. Pennick's genius was for 
working big game and his power lay in his ability to 
meet and interest big financiers in his enterprises. He 
used Rennick just as he chose, gave him so much of the 
spoils as he cared to, and permitted him to fleece and 
blackmail any small fish that happened to be drawn into 
the net. 

The first move was to borrow $20,000 worth of gold 
nuggets. This they succeeded in doing from a prominent 
banker in Seattle, whose name I withhold because of the 
respect and friendship I in after years had for his wife 
and daughter. In a few days this remarkable pair were 
registered at the Palmer House, in Chicago. Rennick 
was dressed as a Klondiker — blue shirt, slouch hat and 
mackinaw. He said he had just come out from the Klon- 
dike, had been working very hard and had just come over 
to see the town and have a little fun. He spent money 
very freely, and on opportune occasions would show a few 
handfuls of nuggets. He was quite reluctant in talking 
about Alaska, but he let the boys know that he had a hole 
in the ground up there somewhere which he was in the 
habit of visiting after his profligate trips east. 

In the meantime, Pennick, who was elegantly dressed 
and entertaining lavishly, was pointing him out and in- 
troducing him as a Klondiker who had just come out from 
the interior with a fortune. He said that he had taken 



19 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

him down to San Francisco, where they had wined him 
and dined him, but had been unable to get anything out 
of him as to what or where his properties were. Being 
convinced, however, that this man had something very 
splendid, he had brought him over to Chicago to see if 
a company could not be organized that would make it 
profitable to all concerned. 

After much persuasion and work in each case on the 
part of Pennick and others, this poor, ignorant Klondiker 
Rennick was finally persuaded to sell certain interests in 
his claims in Alaska. A number of companies were 
organized here, in each case Rennick receiving from 
$5,000 to $20,000 in cash upon the passing of the papers. 
Philadelphia, being a good town, was worked in the same 
way, as well as several other places, and some big silk 
manufacturers at Paterson, New Jersey, to my own 
knowledge, can bear witness that that town also was not 
overlooked. 

Finally, New York was reached and the whole thing 
repeated there even on a larger scale. Among the com- 
panies large and small that were organized in New York 
there was one at 26 Broadway. This being the head- 
quarters of the Standard Oil Company, illustrates in a 
way the ability of Mr. Pennick to reach and interest the 
most important financiers. 

This company was backed and undertaken, as I after- 
wards understood from Mr. Edwards, by three perfectly 
legitimate business men who were connected officially 
with the Standard Oil Company. It was a private un- 
dertaking of these gentlemen, however, and was in no 
way whatever connected with the affairs of the Standard 



20 



THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY 

Oil Company. In this particular case Rennick received 
five $i,ooo bills before any of the papers were signed. 
He then signed a paper obligating himself to take into 
Alaska a party of ten men, prospectors, and to stake them 
on "pay dirt." As to the exact geographic position of 
this "pay dirt" Mr. Rennick said nothing. Indeed, it 
was especially stipulated that he would not be required 
to do so. It might be in the totem pole forest of Wrangle, 
or it might be a few thousand miles around the corner at 
the mouth of the frozen Mackenzie. However, this did 
not matter. "Pay dirt" was what was wanted, and you 
could not expect a man to disclose the exact whereabouts 
of so much wealth for a pittance like $5,000. 

Everything was very speedily and satisfactorily ar- 
ranged. A Mr. Edwards was selected to represent the 
company. He and Rennick were at once to go to Seattle 
and organize the party. Rennick was to have complete 
control until the party was properly located, according to 
his contract ; then Mr. Edwards, the representative of the 
company, was to take charge. 

This Mr. Edwards was a cool, calculating man, a good 
New York type. He was about fifty years of age, had 
some considerable mechanical knowledge, and had been 
connected, I believe, with The Acme Works in Brooklyn. 
He had spent a year or two in South America for the 
Standard Oil people and was in this matter receiving a 
salary of $5,000 a year, in addition to some interest he 
had in the undertaking. Edwards was a man of splendid 
determination and stuck to Rennick like a leech, so that 
Rennick could not shake him and finally had to go to 
Seattle with him, much as he disliked to do so. 



21 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Mr. Edwards and Rennick had arrived in Seattle some 
weeks before myself, where Rennick at once began to 
invent all manner of excuses for delay and for forcing 
further money out of the company. Something had been 
done, however, in the way of organization. A steam 
schooner had been purchased in Astoria, Oregon, and 
brought around to Seattle, and some members of the 
party also had been engaged. 

After Rennick had exhausted his ingenuity in delaying 
the party, he pretended at last to be ill and procured a 
doctor to say that he must at once go to Hot Springs, 
Arkansas. In order to make this more certainly work, 
he was pronounced to have contracted a loathsome dis- 
ease which was sure to disqualify him for so intimate per- 
sonal association as this trip required. He insisted, how- 
ever, that he had a partner who was just as familiar 
with that "pay dirt" as he himself was ; that he did not 
then know where his partner was, but was expecting him 
in Seattle every day, and as soon as he came he would 
have him take his place and go with Edwards, carrying 
out his (Rennick's) part of the contract. 

As some thousands of dollars had already been spent 
and the tale seemed very plausible, especially as Rennick 
had often referred to this partner in New York and other 
places, there was nothing for Edwards to do but to wait. 

In the meantime, Rennick began a search among the 
cosmopolitan mass of bums and blacklegs then in Seattle 
for some man that he could pass off for his partner. The 
man that he finally introduced as his partner was named 
George Stinson, and how he came to be his partner I will 
let Stinson himself relate in his own way. 



22 



THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY 

Four years after these occurrences I was driving one 
afternoon on the Lunetta in the City of Manila. I saw 
Stinson on the sidewalk. I recognized him instantly. 
There was no mistaking him — the same red beard and 
small blue eyes, the same massive form and wobbling 
g3.vt I sprang from the "Carremetta" and going toward 
him called him by his first name — George. He turned 
around and seeing me in the uniform of an artillery officer 
saluted and said : "I beg your pardon, sir. I thought 
you spoke to me." He then recognized me, and seemed 
to be pleased at seeing me again. I asked him to drive 
with me, which he did. 

We went to the Hotel Oriente and had a long chat. I 
told him that I would like to know his part of that Alaska 
trip of ours; that the trip was a thing of the past now, 
and could not in any way hurt or concern anyone. In 
that peculiarly positive and short-sentenced manner of his 
he very readily told me his connection with the trip, and 
I reproduce his words here as nearly verbatim as pos- 
sible, I having written them down immediately afterwards 
in my quarters at Fort Santiago : 

"I never saw Rennick until he came to see me in 
Seattle about two weeks before I met you. I am a 
sailor most of my life, though I have prospected some, 
too, most everywhere, in Africa, South America and in 
Australia, in the United States, too, and about ten years 
ago I was Prospecting down here on this island in Ben- 
quet Province. For the last several years I have gone in 
whaling ships, and, as you know, I am familiar with the 
coast from California up to the Arctic. I know, too, 
most all the Indian tribes and many of the squaw men 
and traders along the coast. Well, I came down to Seat- 
tle that year after spending the winter in the Arctic 
Ocean near Cape Barrow. I had about $500, but I 

23 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

spent this in two or three weeks. I thought I would go 
to the Klondike, but this fellow Rennick came to me 
when I was about broke. He said that he had a good 
thing up in Alaska and wanted a man to take a party 
up there for him. I thought he was on the square ; he 
loaned me a hundred dollars and asked me to wait a 
few days. I saw him every day, and after a few 
days he took me to a room and told me his plans. He 
said that he had signed a contract in New York to 
take a party up to Alaska and stake them, but that he 
was sick and could not go; besides, they had treated 
him very badly, and he was going to shake them. He 
said he could fix it so that I could make some money 
out of it, and after a few days it was agreed that I was 
to represent myself as his partner. He gave me $500, 
and I was to work Eldwards for whatever I could get 
before we started. He thought Edwards would stand 
for $2,000. If Edwards ponied up, I was to take the 
party to the most inaccessible place I could find, some- 
where where they could neither get in or out. It was 
important that Edwards be placed somewhere for the 
winter where he could not communicate with his 
friends. 

"That was my part — to keep Edwards and you fel- 
lows from civilization until the following spring. This 
would enable Rennick to carry on his plans in Seat- 
tle during the winter and spring, when a big rush 
would certainly take place. All these things were very 
carefully gone over and understood by Rennick and my- 
self, and after a few days we were ready to spring 
it on Edwards. 

"It was arranged that Rennick was to go to Ed- 
ward's room at the Great Northern Hotel and engage 
him in a rather despondent conversation over the non- 
appearance of his partner. After a little while I was 
to appear. Rennick was to recognize me as his old 
partner, whom he had been expecting for some days 
and after a greeting the whole thing was to be sprung. 

''Well, I went to the Great Northern and sat down 



24 



THE ORGANIZATION OF THE PARTY 

in a chair, I saw Rennick come through and go into 
the elevator. If he did not return in ten minutes, I was 
to follow. After ten minutes I went up and knocked 
on Edwards' door. The door was opened and Ren- 
nick jumped up and, grabbing me by the hand, said: 
'You damn old scoundrel ! Where in the hell have you 
been? I have been looking for you everywhere.' After 
we had exchanged greetings I told him I had just 
come out and had been down in San Francisco for a 
few weeks. He then introduced me to Edwards. We 
all sat down, and Rennick asked some questions about 
the mines, how were the claims on Wild Goose Creek 
panning, had I gone over to Dead Horse Canyon 
before I left, and some other questions about ficti- 
tious places. 

"It was certainly funny. He then said, 'Well, George, 
you have got to go right back,' and then told me about 
Edwards' party, how he himself had to go to Hot 
Springs, and all that bunk. I kind of laughed this off, 
and told him that I could not think of going back to 
Alaska now. After a few days, when both Rennick 
and myself were satisfied that Edwards was com- 
pletely deceived, I consented to take the party off his 
hands, provided Edwards would pay me $2,000 cash. 
This rather staggered Edwards, and after some tele- 
graphing to New York I accepted $1,500, which Ed- 
wards paid me at once. I think you know the balance. 
Gotten, and how well I carried out my agreement with 
Rennick. Rennick robbed me before I left Seattle, 
and I hope he is in hell by now. I did not know where 
to take you fellows, besides it was not too late for 
you to get out if we went up at once, so we invented 
that yarn about the schooner which you remember we 
wasted so much time in hunting. Well, when we got to 
Sitka I saw Steve McGee and told him this business. 
Steve said that Yakutat was the place to lose the 
damn scoundrels. So I went to Yakutat. That was 
a hard winter on me. I was afraid you fellows would 
hang me. I was not afraid of you, but I thought Jess 
or Brooks might kill me." 



25 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

George would tell me nothing as to how the party 
finally broke up, except in a general way that they had 
all got out, he believed, and I purposely avoided asking 
him what had become of our dogs. Stinson then 
told me that he had been prospecting up in Benguet Prov- 
ince, but had gone broke and asked me if I could not see 
Captain Harding, the Chief of Police of Manila, and have 
him appointed on the Municipal Police Force. I knew 
Jack Harding, having been a non-commissioned officer 
with him in the same regiment. However, I also knew 
Stinson, and I could not possibly recommend him for a 
position of this kind. I knew him too well for that, and 
could not inflict him on the small Chinese merchants and 
other helpless people who might be on his post. As 
Manila was at that time, George would have made such a 
position much more profitable than prospecting. 

Thus it was that Stinson came to be in charge of this 
party. If Rennick has searched the world over he could 
not have found a man better fitted to carry out this part 
of the plan. 

Stinson was the most perplexing study I have ever 
found in human nature. At times it would seem that he 
just missed being a fine man. He had a splendid prac- 
tical knowledge of the world, some considerable education 
and fine natural abilities. 

But with all this he was the most debased, cruel and 
inhuman creature I have ever known. He had, I believe, 
some considerable criminal record, including murder, and 
his passions and habits were the most violent and uncon- 
trolled imaginable. He had, too, a most extraordinary 
cunning, and was a very dangerous man with it all, be- 
cause he knew no fear. 

26 



CHAPTER III. 

From Seattle to Sitka. 

Thus it is seen that we had no prospects whatever from 
the beginning. We were merely to be ditched and aban- 
doned in some inaccessible place a thousand miles from 
civilization and left to die or get out the best we could. 

The men that Rennick and Stinson selected to compose 
this party were all chosen on account of their lack of expe- 
rience, their simplicity of mind and because they appeared 
little likely to cause future trouble. I seemed to fulfill 
these requirements without difficulty. 

They were, for the most part, very rough and unde- 
sirable companions, Lang and Romeo being, to some ex- 
tent, exceptions in this respect. Lang remained with the 
party to the end, and shortly after returning to the States 
committed suicide, as has been stated. Romeo came out 
with me, as will appear later. 

Jack Rhyne was a young Irishman, much nearer my 
own age than the others, and came from the Barbary 
Coast of San Francisco, He was what is called a water- 
front tough and barroom loafer, though not a very vicious 
type. He had a fine wit and could be attractive in a way. 
I met him several years afterwards on Market Street, in 
San Francisco. He was a sign painter then, and told me 
that Jimmy Landon, another member of our party, had 
contracted the habit of going prospecting in other peo- 
ple's pockets, and in consequence thereof was at that 
time a member of the city street builders' association, that 



27 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

uniformed organization that used to be distinguished by a 
very large ball and chain worn on the ankles. This Jimmy 
was a very disgusting little person, and I hardly know 
how to class him, since his kind is rarely found except in. 
the slums proper. 

Tom Bull had spent his entire life as a woodsman and 
hunter, and in this field he had certain expert knowledge 
of a crude nature that would have delighted Mr. Roose- 
velt. However, had Mr. Roosevelt lived with him as 
intimately as I did for several months, he would have 
seen a larger side of him not so interesting or attractive. 
Tom had taken up a ranch near Cape Flatery, where he 
lived entirely by hunting, and his nearest neighbor was 
a man named Wells, who was from my native county in 
North Carolina. Tom was a widower, and from his own 
description of his married life and his treatment of his 
wife I should say that he was also a murderer. 

Brooks was a lumberjack from Minnesota, quiet and 
very ignorant. He was also suspicious and moody, and 
spent all his spare time whittling on a stick with a pocket 
knife. He was a type that has since been organized into the 
I. W. W.'s, and, excepting George, was the most treach- 
erous and dangerous man in the party. Two other mem- 
bers of the party deserted us before we really got under 
way, so we numbered only eight instead of ten, as in- 
tended. One of these deserters was a mild-appearing man 
who had spent his life prospecting with a Burro in the 
deserts of Arizona ; the other was a Swede and a sailor, 
I believe. 

The organization of our party had excited considerable 
interest in Seattle — the supposed backing of the Stand- 

28 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

ard Oil Company, the excellency of our equipment, the 
special boat and, above all, perhaps, the mystery of our 
destination, this latter secret being all the easier guarded 
because no one at all knew at that time where we were 
going, George himself having not yet decided. The pa- 
pers had given us considerable notice, and on the day of 
our departure six or seven hundred people assembled to 
see us off, the crowd being greatly augmented, I sup- 
pose, by the presence of a brass band that had been sent 
down by one of the outfitting establishments. 

All of my newly made friends were on hand and wished 
me much success. My last act of gallantry was to re- 
move my new silk necktie and present it to sweet Grace 
McAllester, for I would need it no more in the land of 
the Polar Bear. It was a loud and rough crowd that stood 
about to see us off, and several would-be stowaways had 
to be thrown ashore. We had proceeded only a few hun- 
dred yards from the dock when a fight took place on the 
ship that came near developing into a free-for-all fight 
between the crew and several members of our party. It 
seems that George and Tom, who were quite drunk at 
this time, made an entirely unprovoked attack upon the 
cook, who called to his assistance a sailor. Both sides 
were well battered up before the matter was quieted, and 
to make matters worse, some of our dogs just at that 
time got loose on deck and began to chew each other up 
in a vigorous way, so that the deck was for some minutes 
very animated and excited by brute man and brute dog, 
each trying to destroy his own particular kind. 

We stopped at the beautiful little city of Port Town- 
send, which is the clearance port of Puget Sound, and 



29 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

here two members of the party quietly stole away and 
were seen no more. This place is beautifully situated 
almost at the foot of the Olympic Mountains, and here I 
afterwards spent two very happy years as an army officer. 
We passed from here across the straits and entered what 
is known as the inside passage. This passage may prop- 
erly be said to commence at Olympia, Washington, and, 
extending for about 1^300 miles, terminates in what is 
known as The Lynn Cannel, Alaska. 

From a scenic standpoint, it is one of the most beau- 
tiful waterways in the world, and in formation and ap- 
pearance is very similar to the "fjords" of Norway, only 
here there are no habitations. It is simply a network of 
islands and waterways. It narrows in places to a few 
hundred feet, then widens and branches in all directions. 
You find your way abruptly stopped by a gigantic moun- 
tain, and just when you are sure that there is no way 
through, a hole appears to the right or left ; you wonder 
will the ship pass through — yes, it is just large enough, 
and you enter a bay or a fine estuary. 

Occasionally you get a glimpse of the open sea through 
some pass or a hole in the wall, but you hasten back to 
your covered way and continue on in the shadows and 
under the hills. 

Some of the mountains are black and covered with 
giant forests, while others are tall and mirror their daz- 
zling white tops in your path. Here a mighty waterfall 
pours over a precipice, and there a little white glacier 
sparkles far up in the valley. No habitation of man is on 
these shores; it is lonely, and an awful stillness is on the 
face of the earth. 



30 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

We traveled through this mystic way for several days, 
and made our first stop at a place called Bella-Bella. This 
was a place of no importance, being an Indian village of 
about twenty huts and the station of a Hudson Bay 
trader. We purchased some "uclous" (dried fish) for 
our dogs here and proceeded at once. 

Our ship turned out to be very comfortable and a 
good sea boat, but her machinery was old and out of 
repair, so that when we had to depend upon steam alone, 
which was practically all the time, we were very slow, 
not being able to do better than five knots an hour. 

We were all by now quite well acquainted and were 
quartered in the forecastle along with the ship's cook and 
three sailors. We slept on rough wooden berths in our 
own blankets, and slept exceedingly well at that. Ed- 
wards was quartered aft with the ship's officers, and we 
saw nothing whatever of him during the voyage, and it 
was not until after we landed that we got at all acquainted 
with him. 

The captain, who took orders only from George, ap- 
peared to know these waters perfectly. He was said to 
have been the most successful smuggler of Chinese and 
opium on the coast, which is the finest possible compli- 
ment to his ability as a navigator and a scamp. 

We visited a number of "out-of-the-way" inlets and 
bays in search of a mysterious schooner that was sup- 
posed to belong to Mr. Rennick, and for which George 
had some very important orders, this being a device de- 
signed to delay us en route so that we would not arrive 
somewhere too early to be held in over the winter. 

In this way we visited old Metlakhatla, which deserves 



31 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

more than a passing notice. Here we found a regularly 
laid-out town with well-constructed two-story houses, a 
very handsome and large church, a salmon cannery, a sash 
and door factory, a sawmill and brickyard. Yet there 
was not a single human being in all this town, or within 
fifty miles of it. The place had been absolutely abandoned 
since 1887. No man, woman or child greets you as you 
walk through these silent streets; all is quiet, dead and 
sad at old Metlakhatla. 

Here was once the home of quite a large tribe of 
Chimesyan Indians. They were said to have been the 
most fierce and warlike of all the Northwestern tribes, 
and at times were cannibals. In 1857 ^ R^v. Mr. Duncan, 
a Scotch missionary, went among them and in a few 
months the entire tribe joined him almost en masse. Mr. 
Duncan labored with splendid judgment for their mate- 
rial and spiritual advancement, and with very pronounced 
success, especially when compared with the rather sorry 
achievements of missionaries in general on this continent. 

Our missionaries do not seem to be selected on account 
of any particular fitness for the work undertaken, but 
rather for entire unfitness to do anything at home. 

Mr. Duncan's idea was not to teach them religion 
alone, but to instruct them in crafts and occupations which 
would make of them a self-supporting and self-respecting 
community. With this idea in mind, he went back to 
England and perfected himself in such things as black- 
smithing, rope making, carpentering and brickmaking. 
He learned to construct and operate a sawmill, and even 
learned the gamut on each of twenty band instruments in 
order that he could teach them music and organize a 



32 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

band. His success was splendid, and by 1886 these 
Indians were living upon a very high plain of civilization 
in the town which I have just described as abandoned. 
About this time Mr. Duncan became greatly annoyed by 
threats of the Canadian Government to put these Indians 
on a reservation status, as well as by a narrow ecclesias- 
ticism which was endeavoring to force the high church 
services upon him. He finally went to Washington and 
procured from Mr, Cleveland Annette Island, a fine, rich 
island in southeastern Alaska. Here he took the entire 
tribe in 1887. 

The migration was made in canoes, the colony taking 
with them such of their property as was readily remov- 
able. A new town was established named Metlakhatla, 
after the old, and here, under the Stars and Stripes, they 
have prospered exceedingly, and are a most unique and 
interesting community. 

We next stopped at Port Simpson. This is the most 
northerly port on the Pacific side of the English posses- 
sions. The inland passage here opens into a fine road- 
stead as large as Hampton Roads, which, in turn, opens 
directly into the high sea. This place is now the thriving 
little city of Rupert, and is destined to become one of 
the important cities of the West. It is six hundred miles 
nearer Hongkong and Yokohama than Seattle or any 
American port, and with the railroad connections with 
Winnepeg which it now has, is bound to become a city 
of great importance. 

The American Territory of Alaska extends to within 
sight of Rupert, a fact that is very irritating to the 
Canadians, and two islands adjudged American territory 



33 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

by a decision of the German Emperor are so located as to 
command the entrance to the harbor. This especially 
causes the Canadians concern. 

Port Simpson, on this my first visit, was a very small 
place, containing a mission and a Hudson Bay Post. The 
Hudson Bay Company was the agency by which the whole 
of this country was saved to the British. What the East 
Indian Company did in India, the Hudson Bay Company 
repeated in North America in a somewhat smaller way. 
The history of the British Northwest for two hundred 
years is the history of the Hudson Bay Company, and 
now that we are to leave English territory it is well to 
speak of it for a moment as one of the great agencies 
that have given to this whole country its present charac- 
teristics and atmosphere of life. 

The Hudson Bay Company was chartered by Charles 
II in 1670, and is therefore the oldest concern now doing 
business in America. The charter was granted to certain 
persons, who styled themselves "Gentlemen adventurers 
with Prince Rupert at their head." The charter con- 
veyed the sole right to "trade with the natives, to estab- 
lish law and impose penalties, to erect forts, maintain 
ships of war and to make peace or war with any prince 
or people not Christian." 

After the English obtained control of Canada the com- 
pany spread rapidly across the continent and became a 
powerful monopoly. It saved the whole of western Can- 
ada to the English and made a hard fight for "The Ore- 
gon," that magnificent domain now known as Washing- 
ton and Oregon. 

They established a strong fort and trading post on the 



34 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

site whereon is now situated the MiHtary Post of Van- 
couver Barracks on the Columbia River, and would have 
no doubt established the English in control of this entire 
country but for Old Whitman's wagon. 

Perhaps no apparently trivial occurrence since the loss 
of the proverbial horseshoe nail has had so important re- 
sults as the fact that old Whitman's wagon was a good 
one. The Hudson Bay people were well established in 
this magnificent domain on the Columbia, when one day 
a very peculiar cracking and bumping noise was heard 
far up the valley and across the river. This was old Whit- 
man's wagon, the first wagon that ever crossed the Rocky 
Mountains, and it arrived on the Columbia River May 
2ist, 1836. 

The Hudson Bay people were not slow to realize the 
full import of this accomplishment. It was not old Whit- 
man that they objected to — he was only an old frontiers- 
man — but in the wagon they saw their undoing. If one 
wagon could drive from Indiana to Oregon, why not two, 
and if two, why not a thousand, and that is just what 
happened. A thousand followed in old Whitman's wake, 
and The Oregon was saved to the Union. 

Whitman himself, after making a trip to Washington 
to protest against the proposed trading of Oregon for a 
cod fishing privilege in Newfoundland, was massacred by 
Indians, but his old wagon is in the State Museum at 
Portland and its image is on the great seal of the State of 
Oregon. 

The "Gentlemen with Prince Rupert at their head" 
thus having been blocked in the south by old Whitman's 
wagon were also checked to the north by the Russian- 



35 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

American Fur Company, which, like itself, was a pow- 
erful monopoly. The influence of the English company 
on the Pacific, therefore, extended from Oregon to Alaska. 
Over this country they exerted a tremendous influence, 
many effects of which are apparent even to the present 
day. They devised and introduced a dialect called 
Chanooke, which is today spoken almost entirely by all 
the Indians on the coast from Cook's Inlet to the Colum- 
bia River. This dialect consists only of about 200 words 
and is quite easy to learn. It is sometimes referred to as 
the Court Language of the Northwest. Many white peo- 
ple speak it more or less, and a number of prominent peo- 
ple in Seattle and elsewhere take great pride in the purity 
of their Chanooke. It is a combination of several Indian 
dialects, with an occasional English and French word 
corrupted and woven in. It has recently, strangely 
enough, given to the English language a word that will 
probably remain. That is "hooch," which is derived 
from the Chanooke word "Hoochenue," which is an in- 
toxicating drink illegally made by the Indians. 

To the north the Hudson Bay Company was met by 
the Russian-American Fur Company, with whom they 
waged fierce war for almost a hundred years. The Rus- 
sians first reached America by way of the Aleutian 
Islands, which, like a line of stepping-stones, extend from 
the American coast almost to Siberia. The Russian trade 
was at first carried on by independent bands of roving 
sea dogs. These bands of adventurers often engaged in 
desperate wars among themselves, and the loss of life 
among the natives and Russians alike during this period 
was very large. Finally, in 1780, a merchant, Gregor 

36 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

Shelikof, organized a company of some financial strength, 
which in 1799 was chartered by Catherine II as the Rus- 
sian-American Fur Company. This company was par- 
ticularly fortunate in the selection of its first governor, 
George Baronoff, who was a man of tremendous organiz- 
ing power and very great administrative ability. Baron- 
off moved the seat of his government further south and 
founded the city of Sitka. 

He also established the strong Fort of Wrangle, still 
further south, and made deadly war on the Hudson Bay 
Company. Under his administration and that of his suc- 
cessor, Captain Hayunusta, the company became rich and 
powerful, and undertook many bold enterprises, among 
them the annexation of Hawaii and a war on Japan. 

The company also established a colony in California at 
a place called New Albion, on the Russian River. This 
colony was established for the purpose of raising supplies 
for the town of Sitka, but was not very successful in this 
respect. The principal difficulty seems to have been in 
the personnel selected to conduct this enterprise, who, be- 
ing for the most part Aleutian Indians and half-breeds 
transported from Alaska, had no particular taste for 
agricultural pursuits, but rather betook themselves off in 
a body on long hunting trips when they should have been 
attending to their grain and cattle. 

They did quite a business here, however, in the manu- 
facture of plows and other utensils which they sold to the 
lazy Spanish ranchers who lived to the south. This col- 
ony was abandoned and sold in 1844 to a Swiss named 
Sutter, the same who five years afterwards was so promi- 
nently connected with the first discovery of gold in Cali- 



37 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

fornia. In 1899 I camped for a month on the Russian 
River, and there are still many evidences of this Russian 
occupation. 

Thus is was that these powerful monopolies fought 
among themselves for greed and power and for the skins 
of little animals until civilization came and put an end 
to it. Nor must it be forgotten that into these affairs 
there also came the far-reaching hand of John Jacob 
Astor, a man with a vision and a genius, too, all his 
own. 

These ships and traders of Astor's were a different 
type from the Russians and from the E,nglish,and pros- 
pered rather by their shrewdness than by force and by 
the attractiveness of their New England goods. Though 
the English drove Astor out of Astoria in 1812, he was 
still able to maintain his fleet in the Pacific, and was an 
important factor in the Northwest and in Southeastern 
Alaska for fifty years or more. 

From Port Simpson we passed into Alaskan waters and 
stopped at Mary Island. There is nothing here but the 
custom house, but here we had the misfortune of losing 
our big seven hundred pound anchor. This was the fault 
of the mate, who ordered it let go without seeing that 
the cable was made fast, so the anchor, cable and all went 
to the bottom of the bay. The mate, however, passed 
the blame on to the sailor who let go, and gave him a 
dreadful beating, accompanied by great explosions of 
oaths. 

We next stopped at New Metlakhatla, where some of 
us called upon the venerable Mr. Duncan, and then passed 
on to Ketchakan. This place is on Prince of Wales 

38 



FROM SEATTLE TO SITKA 

Island, a very rich island, forty miles by one hundred 
and forty miles long and destined some day to be well 
populated. We spent a day and night at this place, and 
visited the Indian huts and the one white man that lived 
there. There were many very handsome totem poles here, 
especially across the narrow strait in front of the 
settlement. These totems are usually the trunks of trees, 
carved to represent fish, animals or birds, placed one 
above the other. Very much that is confusing and con- 
tradictory has been written about them and some writers 
profess to have discovered a great variety of meanings 
and causes for their construction. They are usually found 
at the graves of the dead, but are sometimes at the en- 
trance of huts, and even at times on the inside. They 
represent the "totem" or family to which the owner be- 
longs, and the animal is the ancestor or progenitor from 
which the family is descended. Some of them are very 
extraordinary looking, and often stand from twenty to 
forty feet high. 

I was again at Ketchakan in 1904 and found a pros- 
perous little town of 800 white people. It is now a con- 
siderable city, and will undoubtedly continue to grow. 
As yet fishing is the principal industry, and last year there 
was shipped from here twenty million pounds of halibut. 

From here we passed on to Shecan, a small Indian 
village also on Prince of Wales Island. Here I saw the 
only really pretty Indian maiden that I have ever seen. 
She had been a cripple from childhood and was entirely 
unable to walk. 

From here we proceeded without further stop to Sitka, 
which was then the capital of Alaska. 



39 



CHiAPTER IV. 
Sitka and Yakutat. 

As you approach Sitka the oriental dome of the Greek 
Cathedral, the court house, Marine Barracks and other 
Government buildings, all coming in view at once, you 
get the impression that it is a much larger place than it 
really is. 

As the administrative seat and centre of Russian cul- 
ture in America, Sitka has a most interesting history. It 
was a place of much importance a hundred years ago. 
From here the Russian did a considerable trade with 
China and with the Spaniards to the south, and most of 
the bells in the old missions of California were cast in this 
little city on Baronoff Island. However, long before the 
time of my visit it had much declined in importance, but 
was still by far the most interesting place in all Alaska. 

If you have ever been penned up on a little coastwise 
schooner for twenty days and are a reasonably decent 
person, it is not hard to guess what your first performance 
was upon going ashore. I accordingly made inquiry at 
once as to where those celebrated Russian baths were that 
I had heard so much about in connection with Sitka. 
This inquiry was the more diligently made by reason of 
the prospects that this would be my winter's bath, which 
was in fact true, though I do not know that any other 
member of the party profited by this last opportunity. 
Indeed, later when speaking of this matter in the woods, 
George seriously maintained that bathing was a symptom 



40 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

of degeneracy ; that it took certain oils and animal matter 
out of the skin, very necessary for vigor and endurance; 
that the Roman Empire never commenced to decline until 
luxurious baths were provided and the people became 
addicted to this altogether useless and destructive cus- 
tom. However that may be, I took this bath in Sitka, 
and have never felt that I was in any way injured. In 
fact, I liked it so well that I actually took another one in 
June of the following year. 

These baths in Sitka are connected with private resi- 
dences, especially with the residences of the Colonial Citi- 
zens, so-called, who are a class of half-breeds left in 
America by the Russians. These people and their de- 
scendants are found in small numbers at several places 
on the coast, especially at Cook's Inlet. The bath that 
I used on this occasion and afterwards in June consisted 
of two small rooms, and was entirely separated from the 
residence. One room is a dressing room, and in here you 
also finish the bath with a tub of water. In the floor of 
the second room is built a large rock furnace, which is 
heated by logs of wood from the outside. When this is 
sufficiently hot you throw basins of water upon it until 
the room becomes packed with steam, and in this way 
you get a very crude but quite a good steam bath. 

In Sitka there is a Presbyterian Mission which main- 
tains a large school for Indian girls. What to do with 
these girls when they finish school is a problem not yet 
solved, and their fate is often a tragic one in that rough 
country. Here, too, is the Shelfon Jackson Museum, 
with a fine collection of Alaskan curios. The ruins of 
Baronoffi's Castle are still to be seen, and I noticed sev- 



41 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

eral pieces of ancient artillery that formerly mounted its 
parapets. There is a very attractive park and driveway, 
or rather walk, I should say, for there is only one horse 
on the island, and that turned out upon investigation to 
be a government mule. 

On the beach in front of the Mission is p>ointed out a 
large boulder, whereon it is said the beautiful Countess 

, spouse of the last Russian Governor, sat and 

wept when she heard that Alaska had in reality been ceded 
to the United States. Strangely enough, this rock is 
called "The Blarney Stone," and good Americans are 
supposed to kick it as they pass, which is rather an ugly 
and ungallant custom, I must say. 

Sitka otherwise has two small hotels, a court house and 
Federal prison. There is also the Greek Orthodox Cathe- 
dral and several very large and ancient log buildings, 
curious and interesting in style. The Greek Orthodox 
Cathedral is a most interesting building, and has, besides 
a wealth of jeweled "icons," some ancient Russian lamps, 
very valuable, and several paintings, one of which I was 
told the late Mr. J. P. Morgan offered $25,000 for. Nor 
must I fail to note Mt. Edgecombe, which is an extinct 
volcano of extraordinary beauty, that adds much to the 
view around Sitka. 

During the Russian control Indians were not per- 
mitted to reside within the city proper, so there grew up 
and developed alongside an exclusive Indian quarter, 
which is, I think, one of the most unique and picturesque 
spots in America. Baranoff Island is itself a large and 
valuable island, and besides being well watered and tim- 
bered, has a very mild climate. It is also well stocked 



42 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

with deer, and is the most northerly point in the world 
where this splendid little animal is found. 

The first evening I was here several men came running 
past me down the street in a great hurry, almost running 
over me in their haste. I turned and followed at a lively 
pace, thinking that something exciting was transpiring. 
Much to my surprise, I discovered that these men were 
prisoners running to get in jail. Sitka, being on an 
island, the prisoners are turned out during the day, and if 
they are not back by 9 o'clock they are locked out, which 
is, in that climate, a very serious thing in winter. So it 
happens that in Sitka about 9 o'clock in the evening a^ 
number of people excuse themselves and hasten to get in 
jail. 

One morning George announced that he had discov- 
ered a large anchor in an old wreck that lay across the 
bay; that it was the property of Gk)vernor Brady, and that 
he was going to borrow it if possible to take the place of 
the one we had lost at Mary Island. I volunteered to go 
with him and call upon his Excellency the Governor of all 
Alaska. We both primped ourselves up somewhat for 
this occasion, and I shall always remember my feelings 
as I stepped ashore that morning. I was dressed, for the 
first time, in my real Alaska clothing. A suit of orange- 
colored mackinaw, blouse belted and buttoned to the 
throat in military style. My moose skin moccasins came 
to the ankles, and were ornamented around the top with 
heavy red stitching. Heavy German socks came up on 
the outside of the trousers almost to the knees; a fur 
cap and gauntlets completed the outfit, and I was careful 
to let the cuffs and collar of my dark blue shirt protrude 



43 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

in a careless, a la Rennick manner. Certainly no one 
would ever take me for a tenderfoot now. 

It is curious what a terror this word tenderfoot has 
to young men of the East when they first arrive in the 
West. They affect many airs designed to give the im- 
pression that they are at home, and generally make them- 
selves appear much rougher and more uncivilized than 
they really are in an effort to avoid its application. 

We called at the Governor's residence and were told 
that he was down at the mill. We went to the mill 
nearby, and found His Excellency dressed in a blue suit 
of overalls and shoveling snow from a pile of lumber. 
This rather surprised me, for I had not thought of that 
as a dignified dress or seemly exercise for the Governor 
of so great a Territory. 

The Governor received us most kindly and not only 
consented to loan us the anchor, but actually went along 
himself and helped us remove it to the ship, which was no 
small undertaking. 

I don't think the Governor ever saw such a dandy as 
I was that morning. He kept eyeing me, and finally 
walked over to me and asked what part of the South 
I was from. This completely staggered me, for I had 
supposed myself quite effectively disguised. When I told 
him North Carolina, he said, "I knew you were a long 
way from home." 

While in Sitka, as has been stated before, George met 
an acquaintance, Steve McGee, and it was Steve who 
selected the place where we were to be interned for the 
winter, George up until now having made no decision at 
all as to where he would take us. This Steve was a squaw 



44 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

man, and had for a year or two lived in Yakutat, where 
he had made a living by washing the beach sands in dif- 
ferent places around the bay. I might explain here that 
there are a number of such men scattered along the coast 
of Alaska who are able with a pan during the summer 
to take out enough gold dust from the sands on the beach 
to support themselves in idleness during the winter. These 
men are always squaw men, and often live in little 
schooners, in which they float from place to place. Steve, 
however, had a little house in Yakutat, and his squaw 
was a graduate of the Mission School at Sitka. 

Steve, as of course can be understood, was an outcast 
from society, and was very much like George in his 
taste and desires in life. He joined us at Sitka, and 
during the following spring went up on the Valdez 
glacier, where he shot a woman and was himself promptly 
hanged by a band of infuriated miners. 

We left Sitka November 24th, and that night George 
volunteered us the first information we had as to where 
we were going. He produced a small map of Alaska and 
pointed out a spot between the headwaters of the Copper 
and Alsek rivers. Here, he said, was the promised land. 
He explained that from Yakutat his route extended over 
a dead glacier into the Alsek Valley, thence up the frozen 
stream to the property in question. George was very 
friendly and communicative that night, and we all went 
to bed in high spirits and very confident of our success. 
Jack and I even began to make some plans as to how we 
ought to live now in this changed state. 

The next morning we were off what is known as the 
Fairweather Sealing Grounds, this being the locality 



45 



? 



M^ 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 



where the Russians used to make their greatest catch of 
seals and sea otter in the early days before the discovery 
of the wonderful Seal Islands by Prel^n in 1786. A 
strong gale was blowing, and our little ship labored 
heavily all day. The coast line had taken on a much more 
decided Arctic appearance, and the Fairweather range of 
mountains remained on our starboard side all day, Mt. 
Fairweather itself, 15,000 feet high, standing out like a 
giant statue and glorious in a new mantle of dazzling 
snow. 

On the morning of the third day we entered Yakutat 
Bay, which is a very large and comfortable harbor, with 
numerous islands and smaller bays, and after rounding a 
second cape came up to the town of Yakutat, some two 
hundred and fifty miles from Sitka. 

Here we lay for several days, while George perfected 
his plans for our internment. Finally he decided to go up 
to the head of the glacier over which we were to cross 
and to examine the locality himself before putting us 
ashore, which seemed wise, since George had never been 
in that locality before. He explained that he wanted to 
select the best place to unload our supplies, and especially 
wanted to see the condition of the glacier and if any 
crevasses had appeared on its surface since he crossed it 
last. He made this trip in a whaleboat, and was accom- 
panied by Tom and Steve. While George is away on this 
trip I will describe Yakutat and its locality, for in this 
vicinity transpired most of the unrelated portion of this 
narrative. 

Few people, I suppose, have ever heard of Yakutat; 
certainly I never ^j4»until George mentioned it the night 

46 



rc-.^ 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

after leaving Sitka. If a person has to be buried alive, 
there is no more majestic place in the world for that pur- 
pose than here. Across the bay and in front of the town, 
though some fifteen miles away, is the great Malaspina 
Glacier, the largest glacier on the American continent. It 
contains about two hundred and fifty square miles of solid 
ice, and is larger in area than the land surface of the 
State of Rhode Island 

A glacier is one of the great wonders of nature, and a 
large portion of the topography and present geographic 
arrangements of this world can be traced to their work. 
To us ordinary people ice is a solid ; to the scientists, how- 
ever, it is a fluid, and to this fact is due the action of 
glaciers in grinding down great mountain systems and 
building up great areas of bench lands. Here in these 
mountains you can actually see them at work. The 
Malaspina glacier is fed by an extensive network of 
tributaries or glacier arms that extend through all the 
valleys for many miles. The pressure of these immense 
volumes accelerates the flow, which is irregular and af- 
fected by many things, so that a bench glacier like the 
Malaspina may be flowing in many directions at the same 
time, forming at times ranges of hills and valleys on its 
own surface of great extent. This motion is often accom- 
panied by deep subterranean rumblings and noises, and 
sometimes by violent breaks and great noises on the sur- 
face that are terrifying and sound like artillery practice. 

When a glacier or one of its branches becomes de- 
prived through some change in topography or climate of 
its source of supply, it is said to be dead — that is, inactive. 
Such a glacier then slowly melts away and recedes in the 



47 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

direction of its summit or active part. As it recedes or 
melts away it drops whatever it contains in its bosom, 
and this path, if above the surface of the water, becomes 
what is known as a moraine. These moraines are im- 
mensely curious as well as of great interest to geologists. 
On the north side of the Malaspina stands Mt. St. Elias, 
1 8, 1 00 feet high, and, at the time I was there, it was sup- 
posed to be the highest point in America. However^ a 
more recent survey has given that honor to Mt. McKinley, 
which is more than 20,000 feet high. 

St. Elias is shaped much like a sharp pyramid, only it 
has a great piece broken out of it near the top. As to who 
broke it, I cannot for a certainty say, but the Indians say 
that Tanhow, a turbulent spirit that once lived there- 
abouts, broke it out and threw it at his wife. I should 
say that it was a dangerous thing to throw even at one's 
wife, for that little handful must have been several thou- 
sand acres. Tanhow is also held to be responsible for a 
number of other freakish things that are seen in this 
locality. 

St. Elias is, of course, always covered with snow, is 
dazzling white, and in clear weather can be seen for two 
hundred and fifty miles at sea. 

Extending east from St. Elias is the St. Elias range 
of mountains, which extends to Fairweather. It con- 
sists of a number of ranges, parallel to each other, and 
contains many fine peaks, such as Mt. Vancouver, 15.000 
feet high, and Mt. Hobbard, 10,000 feet high. This is 
the frame in which Yakutat sits, the town itself being 
on the bench land that extends along the coast, and is 
surrounded by dense forests of spruce fir and hemlock. 

48 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

Yakutat has never been a place of any importance, 
though now I believe one of the largest canneries in the 
country is there. The Indians of this locality were 
always of very low order and almost entirely fish 
eaters. The Russians found them troublesome and not 
worth while to subdue. In 1802 the Russian garrison of 
one hundred men was massacred, and about the same 
time a large party of Russians traveling in three hun- 
dred canoes was attacked off Yakutat Bay and destroyed 
to a man. The Russians then destroyed the place and 
abandoned it after erecting a great cross over the graves 
of their comrades, which can be seen to this day as you 
enter the harbor. 

Yakutat, as I found it, consisted of about fifty shacks 
and buildings, very irregularly placed along the beach. 
The natives number, I believe, about 250 and are quite 
far from being civilized. 

Though there has been a Swedish Mission here for 
about ten years, these Indians still tie up their witches, 
keep certain of their young girls in sweat boxes and 
practise all manner of barbarities, some hideous and re- 
volting. They still cling mostly to their own laws and 
customs, are a poor lot physically, very superstitious and 
all covered with insects. The first night we were here I 
was awakened in the early morn by the screams and cries 
of many children. I was so disturbed and curious that I 
slipped on some clothes and went on deck. It was barely 
dawn, but I could discern through the light many chil- 
dren bathing and splashing in the water along the shore. 
Their screams were dreadful, and I wondered what they 
were doing there, for the thermometer was about ten de- 



49 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

grees above zero. I learned that it is customary to often 
subject the small children to this treatment, the men driv- 
ing them into the water with sticks and standing on the 
shore to see that they remained out for an allotted time, 
the idea being to toughen them to hardships and exposure, 
thus making stronger men and women of them. As can 
be imagined, the result is many deaths from pneumonia 
and other pulmonary troubles. Their houses are mostly 
made of slabs or poles. In the centre of the dirt floor 
is a wood fire, the smoke of which is supposed to go out 
an opening in the top. This, however, is only a supposi- 
tion, for the smoke never goes out this opening, but all 
remains below to torture you, and often you cannot rec- 
ognize a person quite near you for the smoke. 

The occupants sleep and eat around this fire on piles 
of skins or filthy rags, while the floor is littered with 
bones and garbage of every description. These houses 
are called "bribaris," and some of them are very large. 

One evening a "potlatch" was given in honor of our 
arrival. A "potlatch" is an entertainment, the word also 
being used in other sense, as "to give" or "compliment." 
This particular affair was given in quite a large hut or 
"bribary," and was attended, I suppose, by all the belles 
and matrons of the place. Certainly a goodly number 
arrived, and all seemed to have one or more "papoose," 
tightly bandaged up in rags, which they carelessly tossed 
in a heap in one corner of the room, like so many bun- 
dles of trash and all on top of each other. I wondered 
how they could breathe. 

These little things, however, never uttered a sound dur- 
ing the entertainment. A girl with a stick was stationed 



50 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

over them to prevent any being devoured by dogs, a 
shocking horror not infrequently occurring, I was told. 

"Papoose" deposited, the squaws then mingled very 
freely with the men, and some kind of a mournful dance 
was started. 

There was nothing whatever attractive about any of 
this, so I left early, being, in fact, afraid to sit down or 
to touch anything at all. 

These Indians are expert fishermen, and dig out the 
most beautiful canoes on the coast. This seems to be 
their only real art, for their totems are much inferior to 
what I saw at Sitka and Ketchekan. They commit all 
manner of crimes among themselves, and while I was 
there a young Indian killed his father without any provo- 
cation whatever, and, cutting his stomach open, filled it 
with rocks and sank the body in a lake. For this he had 
most of his canoes and blankets taken from him and had 
to work for the chief for a length of time. 

The chief, who is called King George, does not appear 
much superior to his subjects, but his son, who is called 
the Duke of York, seems to be a very strong and athletic 
man. 

King George, who is recognized by our government and 
receives an annuity of $120 a year, was once taken to 
Portland at the expense of the government and forced to 
witness the hanging of some of his subjects who had 
committed some barbarous murders, the idea being that 
it would have a wholesome effect upon him and the others 
of his tribe if he actually saw what the "Great Boston 
Con"* in Washington would do when angry. George 



♦American white man. 

SI 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

never tires of telling strangers of this trip. The hanging 
apparently did not impress him at all, but what interested 
him most was an elevator, and I was told that it was 
almost impossible to get him out of one. 

Among other happenings on this marvelous trip 
George was made the subject of a cruel joke. He was 
told to take down the receiver of a telephone and put it 
to his ear, that he could talk to the old chief who had 
been dead for many years. He did so, and so well did' 
the person at the other end act his part that the scene 
became most pathetic, and I was told that those present 
were really overcome at George's earnestness and the 
effect it had upon him. 

Of the white people here, we found a Swedish Mission 
conducted by a Mr. Johnson and his wife, assisted by a 
young Swedish woman. There are also two other white 
men who reside here, both traders. One, a Mr. Beasley, I 
saw very little of, but the other, Mr. Johnson, I saw a 
good deal of at this time, and upon my return here in the 
spring. Mr. Johnson was a very jovial and big-hearted 
fellow and had the capacity of making you laugh and 
keeping you in good spirits all the time. He had been 
here for about twenty years, and of course knew all about 
this place, but to my surprise knew nothing whatever 
about the surrounding country. 

There was also here at this time a Mr. and Mrs. Krow- 
ley, who were on their honeymoon. Mrs. Krowley was 
about fifty years of age, an aggressive, self-opinionated, 
stupid person, possessed of almost everything that men dis- 
like in women — of the poison ivy rather than the clinging 
vine stock. She had been directed here by a clairvoyant, 



52 



SITKA AND YAKUTAT 

who had imparted to her the exact spot near Mt. St. EHas 
where her fortune awaited her. Her husband, a most 
insignificant httle mouse of a man, had been required to 
sell his belonging's and trail along with her. With them 
was a man named Brooks, a Missouri farmhand, who had 
drifted into Yakutat in some way and, being stranded, 
had taken up with this pair. The three had been working 
some of the beach sands around the bay, hoping in this 
way to secure enough to go up to where Mrs. Krowley's 
fortune lay. In this, however, they had not been success- 
ful, and were all now practically stranded. 

We took our dogs ashore here and gave them some 
exercise, and thereby was precipitated one of the greatest 
dog fights I suppose that ever occurred. They were no 
sooner turned loose on the beach than the Indian dogs 
came down upon them in swarms and attacked them sav- 
agely. I am sure that more than a hundred Indian dogs 
participated in this fight. Our dogs were very strong, 
especially two mastiffs and a St. Bernard. These were 
equal to any number of the little, half-starved Indian 
dogs, that appeared to be mostly fox. For some time the 
battle raged terribly, and the whole village was aroused 
by the uproar and turned out in an effort to put a stop to 
it. At times some of our dogs would be entirely covered 
up by the Indian dogs, and would look like a big ball of 
mad dogs rolling along the beach. After some time we 
separated them and, securing our dogs, took them back 
to the ship. The casualties among the Indian dogs were 
large. The Indians demanded pay for these dead dogs, 
which we refused, and the matter caused some bad feeling 
between the Indians and ourselves. In every Indian vil- 



53 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

lage there is a swarm of half-starved dogs. These dogs 
belong to no one, but if you kill one, an owner soon ap- 
pears and demands pay. Our own dogs suffered very 
little in this battle, and the large ones not at all. 

There is one other thing that I must refer to in con- 
nection with Yakutat — that is the vast quantities of fish 
that are to be found and taken in these waters. It is 
practically impossible to exaggerate the quantity of sal- 
mon, smelts and herring that can be taken during the 
season. This is not only true of Yakutat Bay, but of all 
the bays and streams of the north Pacific. In the little 
lagoons and inlets at certain stages of the tide they can 
be raked out with a rake, just as many as you desire, and 
they form a very important part of the food of the bear 
and fox, who have no trouble in catching them. Several 
times Jack and I went over to the little lagoon near Yaku- 
tat when the tide was low and raked out in a minute as 
many as we wished. We also saw numbers of Indian 
dogs catching them and devouring them on the beach. 



54 



CHAPTER V. 
In the Woods. 

Upon George's return, he reported everything in fine 
condition ; the glacier had been visited and found entirely 
free from crevasses. Accordingly, we got under way and 
proceeded up Enchantment Bay. This is a "fjord" or 
arm of the sea that extends up into the mountains and 
foothills for about forty miles. It empties into Yakutat 
Bay over by the Malaspina, and, while it is forty or fifty 
miles long, it bends in a direction so that its head is only 
about twenty-five miles overland from Yakutat. It is 
one of the hundreds of similar bays or canals, as they are 
called, that are characteristic of this entire coast, and 
also of the coast of Norway. Enchantment Bay is a gem 
and lovely beyond description. It is from one-quarter to 
one-half mile in width, with occasional small islands or, 
rocks, and with banks so high and vertical that there are 
no landing places. On the left bank ascending glaciers 
break in occasionally. The banks and mountains on each 
side are so steep and the place so narrow that we had 
hardly any light at this season of the year, and the entire 
day was like twilight, which gave everything a curious 
but lovely appearance. 

At night we tied up to some trees that hung over a 
cliff, for no steamer had ever been in this place before. 
" We were the first that ever burst upon that silent sea, and 
had to proceed with caution. 

About noon of the second day we arrived at the head of 

55 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

the bay, where the banks are low and comfortable for 
landing-. Here we unloaded our supplies in the forest 
and on the banks of a giant moraine. We were assisted 
in this by a number of Indians brought along from Yaku- 
tat for that purpose, among whom I recall was "His 
Grace," the Duke of York. 

The Augusta then turned her heels, gave us three loud 
whistles and started on her long trip back to Seattle. It 
was a queer feeling that came over us then, at least over 
me, for this little ship was our last tie to civilization and 
the great world behind. All, I suppose, sent letters back 
by the Augusta, and certainly George made a report to 
Rennick as to the progress of the matter and enclosed a 
rough chart of Enchantment Bay and the environs of our 
tomb. We retained, from the Augusta, a good boat and 
two pairs of oars for the benefit of the corps and for use 
on the River Styx perhaps, should the ferryman be indis- 
posed or be otherwise engaged. 

We at once started to arrange our camp, which we did 
very speedily. We had three tents, one for ourselves, 
one for the kitchen and one for the dogs. Romeo was 
appointed cook, and an excellent one he was, too, having 
been a cook in the Army. Tents pitched and stoves up, 
we then covered the floor with hemlock bows. On these 
we placed our sleeping bags and blankets in two rows, 
feet to the centre. 

We were entirely comfortable, and had an abundance of 
everything. Indeed, we had so much food and so many 
extra tools of every description that we very soon took 
no pains to economize in anything. \ 

Edwards was now one of us, and placed his sleeping 



56 



\ 




IN THE WOODS 

bag opposite George. George, however, was entirely in 
charge, and Edwards, in a way, a guest until George 
performed Rennick's part of the contract and located us 
on that "pay dirt." However, Edwards worked just as 
any of us, though I understood he was not required to do 
so. He proved to be one of the best workers in the camp. 

As soon as the Augusta was out of sight, George 
seemed to lose his energy. We spent several days making 
ourselves more comfortable, and explored a bit of the for- 
est that surrounded us, in which no white man had ever 
been before. Finally George went forward and selected a 
sight for our second camp. This camp was about five 
miles away, and was at the foot of a glacier. In order to 
reach it, however, we had to cross the moraine, which 
added immensely to our labor. 

We all worked like slaves on this move, and after some 
trouble succeeded in breaking in our dogs to harness very 
well indeed ; and it is surprising what they can do. Since 
then I have loved dogs better than men, I fear ; certainly 
better than some of the men I was with. 

The companionship of dogs is one of the finest things 
given to man, and my dog Prince certainly excelled this 
man George in all the finer traits of character, and was 
in truth much more of a Christian and gentleman besides. 

We found our ten tons of supplies such an immense 
burden and the trail over the moraine so very rough that 
it was after Christmas before we had entirely moved up 
to the Glacier camp. Here we spent most of January, 
entirely inactive. We had become suspicious and were 
now finally convinced while here that George, for some 
reason, was playing a part. We could not understand it, 



57 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

but it was quite plain that George had no real intention of 
taking us forward and knew nothing whatever about the 
country. 

The party, too, was by now quite plainly divided into 
groups or alliances that made our situation more hope- 
less, besides very unpleasant and dangerous as well. From 
the beginning Romeo, Jess and I stood together, not in an 
aggressive way, but plain enough to be seen. Tom had 
attached himself to George, and we all knew that he could 
be depended upon to do George's bidding in anything. 

Brooks remained neutral, alone and sullen, with more 
friendship for Jess, we thought, than for any other mem- 
ber of the party. Jimmy appeared also to be neutral, but, 
being entirely worthless and without decision of any kind, 
could not be depended upon. Edwards was entirely neu- 
tral, held himself somewhat aloof from all of us, as was 
proper under the circumstances. He was indeed in a 
most difficult and trying position — in fact, in a position 
of real danger, and he conducted himself like a man all 
through. 

Jack had shown a fondness for me, but, having had 
some words with George shortly after we landed, he 
walked off and abandoned the party. He endeavored to 
reach Yakutat overland, but became lost and snow-blind 
in the forest, as we learned afterwards, and would have 
perished but for the fact that some Indians on a hunting 
trip chanced upon him and took him in. He recovered 
and was taken down to San Francisco on a little fishing 
schooner that happened to come in to secure some water. 
If he had remained with the party, he would have be- 
longed to my group. 

58 



IN THE WOODS 

George made every effort to break into our "entente." 
He would talk to us individually and cunningly, try to 
arouse us against Edwards or against each other. It did 
not work, and this alignment remained throughout the 
winter, and very well it did, for otherwise there would 
have been murder in our camp that winter. As it was, 
the situation was dangerous enough; everyone realized 
that. No one spoke or said a word about any member of 
the party, especially nothing was said about our pros- 
pects or where we were going. Nothing had been agreed 
to on this point, but it was in the atmosphere and every- 
one felt it as distinctly as they could see the mountains 
around us. Any trouble started in that camp would have 
been most serious. We had at least three of the most 
desperate and dangerous men that could be found — men 
that thought nothing of murder, and we were hundreds of 
miles from any civilization or law of any kind. This was 
perfectly well understood by all of us, and it was felt 
to be an excellent time to mind your own business, "speak 
with a soft voice and carry a big stick." 

I have always believed that if George could have at- 
tached Jess or Brooks to himself, Edwards would have 
certainly been "accidentally" killed, or would have mys- 
teriously disappeared, and I am sure that nothing but this 
nice balance of power prevented some such horrible trag- 
edy. In fact, George even approached me, in a vague 
way, about the advisability of something of this kind hap- 
pening to Edwards. Thank God, young as I was, he in- 
stantly saw my resentment and concern. I never men- 
tioned this to a soul, for the situation would not have 
stood any discussion at all. Edwards, too, I am quite 



59 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

sure, understood and felt his situation accurately, and in 
anything like fair play would have rendered a good ac- 
count of himself. He knew, too, that the slightest inter- 
ference or assumption of authority on his part would have 
caused an immediate explosion. 

There was one other thing that I thought at the time 
had some effect on this ticklish situation, and, trifling as 
it may appear, there were some indications that Brooks, 
at least, was affected by it. This seemed to have been 
caused by my having been seen with Mr. Kidder several 
times in Seattle. Mr. Kidder was a strikingly handsome 
and distinguished-looking man; he was "biled shirt" all 
over to these men, and the impression prevailed that I 
was not at all what I pretended to be. The inference was 
that I was a son of a millionaire, or of some nota- 
ble, out on a lark, and if anything ugly happened, there 
would be no limit of means and influence available to 
show the thing up. I do not know to what extent this 
idea prevailed, but I do know it was there, and that Jess, 
without speaking to me, encouraged it, and that I, under 
the circumstances, was too modest for anything. 

Under these conditions, the atmosphere in the tent was 
always charged. Sometimes for days George would lie 
on his blankets and speak not a word to anyone. At such 
times he was a most dreadful-looking person. At other 
times he would talk very friendly, and sometimes we all 
would talk amiably together, but never about the object 
of our trip. 

On one occasion, I recall, we were all talking in the 
tent in one of our friendly moods. George was telling 
us about Alaska, the Indians, the animal life and the 

60 



IN THE WOODS 

great resources, and, though he knew nothing whatever 
about these things, neither did we, so he did not mind 
talking. Finally I asked him if there were any toads in 
Alaska. No, there were no toads in Alaska. None what- 
ever. Queen Charlotte Island was the highest point on 
the coast where anything at all like a toad had ever been 
found, and these were in fact not toads at all, but a 
curious kind of rock frog. Just then I raised the foot of 
my sleeping bag, and out jumped a fine big toad frog. 
Everybody laughed, even George, and this was the only 
laugh heard in that camp during that long, long winter. 
George never knew that I had been thawing out that toad 
and feeding him for a week in order to get him in good 
hopping trim. 

Returning to Camp No. 2, this was the most uncom- 
fortable camp we had. It was pitched on a thinly wooded 
gravel bed, exactly at the foot of a great mountain and 
at the head of the moraine I have mentioned. The face 
of a huge glacier was about two hundred yards away. 
For three weeks the wind blew a violent gale, so violent 
and cold as it came from the glacier that nothing could be 
done. We were confined entirely to camp during this 
time, and often had to turn out at night and restrap our 
tent down. 

On the first quiet day George, Edwards and I went 
out to explore the glacier over which we were to pass. Be 
it remembered that this glacier was supposed to run over 
the mountains here and to lead into the valley of the 
Alsek River, and George himself was supposed to have 
crossed over this glacier the previous fall. This, how- 
ever, it was best not to recall for reasons before stated. 

61 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

This glacier was a dead glacier. Its face was smooth 
and a steep slope of about three hundred feet high and 
one-half mile wide. The ice was of many colors, which was 
caused, I supposed, by the different elements it had been 
in contact with and by the various degrees of pressure it 
had been subjected to during the thousands of years it had 
been frozen. 

Once over the face, the ascent was more gradual and 
good for sleds. There were no crevasses either, but many 
gentle slopes and hollows. The mountains on each side 
were entirely barren of vegetation of any description. 

We proceeded on about eight miles around a bend and 
came to the summit, which was about three thousand feet 
above sea level. Here this glacier merged with others 
and spread to the east and west and joined with still others 
as far as you could see. But it did not extend in the 
direction of the Alsek, for in the way stood a great moun- 
tain range and beyond them other ranges, close up, as far 
as the eye could see. Among them all was a great net- 
work of glaciers, all active and very different in appear- 
ance from the little one we had ascended. 

The surface of these glaciers was indescribably rough 
and impossible to travel on. One glance was enough to 
convince us that there was no passing here. Steve had 
selected well. We would never cross this range of moun- 
tains, that much was perfectly sure. They never had been 
crossed, and have not to this day, I suppose, and they 
were certainly impassable to us with our equipment and 
morale. 

The scene on this glacier was wonderful beyond de- 
scription, and dreadful, too. Nothing was suggestive of 

62 



IN THE WOODS 

the world that we know, and I had a frightful feeling that 
something inhuman and supernatural was about. 

Upon our return from the glacier it became understood 
in some way that the glacier was impassable, though no 
one ever mentioned it. George went into a sulk for some 
days and the whole party became morose. The atmos- 
phere in the tent was very tense. When I left Seattle 
Mrs. Francisco gave me a book. I took it merely be- 
cause she offered it to me, for I expected to be very busy 
with my nuggets and mining property during the winter 
and, of course, would have no time to read. However, I 
still had it, so I began to read. It was "The White Com- 
pany," by Doyle, and an excellent book it is. I suppose 
I read that book through twenty times during the winter, 
and practically knew it by heart. I have always regretted 
that I did not have a volume or two of Shakespeare or a 
Bible in which I could have become well versed, since 
there was nothing to do during these long seventeen-hour 
nights except read, and we had any abundance of candles. 

During the day I explored the moraine, which was ever 
a place of absorbing interest. This moraine was about 
one-half mile in width and five miles long. It was the 
trail of the receding glacier that I have spoken of, and 
resembled nothing so much as the bed of a great river 
that had suddenly gone dry. To call it a moraine was not, 
I believe, entirely correct, for this word is used in a 
somewhat broader and even at times different sense. 
However, we called it "The Moraine," and there seems 
to be no other word so suitable. I have never seen any 
place in the world like it. 

With well-defined steep banks, its bottom was covered 

63 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

with great and small boulders, stone and pebble of every 
conceivable shape and color, all dumped and piled in a 
heterogeneous and most fascinating way. 

After a while, when things appeared somewhat more 
amiable in the tent, I suggested to George that I should 
make a trip to the eastward in the direction of the Alsek 
River and explore the flat, wooded country in that direc- 
tion. Just east of us the mountains seemed to stop 
abruptly ; either that or they turned sharply to the north. 
I explained to him that it might be entirely possible to 
follow these mountains around until we reached the Alsek 
River, which was supposed to break through them about 
fifty miles to the east. Once in the river bottom, we 
might find a way through the mountains along its banks 
and thus gain the interior after all. 

He told me to go ahead. Accordingly, I left at day- 
break. I had an axe, a rifle, blanket and some provisions 
and was accompanied by my dog Prince, now called 
Precious. I was by this time quite expert on snow shoes, 
and otherwise hard as a rock. I crossed the moraine and 
tramped all day through a dense forest of fir, hemlock and 
spruce. The snow was very deep (twenty or thirty feet 
in places), but well frozen and hard on top. There is 
something indescribably thrilling about exploring a coun- 
try in which no white man has ever been. I had this 
joy, in a small way, several times while in Alaska, but 
felt it more particularly on this trip. Who could tell what 
strange objects I might discover? A ruined city maybe, 
or some great tombs of ancient people. 

About dusk I emerged from the forest and came into a 
prairie section where there were large fields^ clear of tim- 

64 



IN THE WOODS 

ber, for six or seven miles. From here I got a good view 
of the country further east and a glorious view of Mt. 
Fairweather, its top like blazing fire in the setting sun and 
a long stream of snow blowing from its top also lighted 
and ablaze like the tail of a great comet. I was fascinated 
and gazed at it until it faded away. 

I otherwise discovered that the mountains here did turn 
to the north, but not so sharply as I had hoped, but they 
were of much lower altitude than those in front of our 
camp. I then dropped back into the forest and built a fire 
of logs next to a great stone, and cut some boughs to lie 
on, and cut a water hole in a stream at hand and prepared 
with Precious to spend the long winter night. 

It was a glorious thing, this night in the forest with 
Precious. Just Precious, me and my soul. I thought of 
many, many things that night, the dear ones at home and 
how this thing would ever end. I slept a little, wrapped 
in my blanket, but Precious not at all. He spent the 
whole night with his ears cocked over me, perfectly will- 
ing to give his life in my defence if called upon. It was 
a long night, sixteen hours of darkness, but the happiest 
I spent in Alaska, I believe. 

The next day I tramped back to camp, having seen no 
signs of animal life of any description. I might add here 
that on this strip of bench land between the St. Elias range 
of mountains and the coast there is very little game of 
any kind. Occasionally we heard wolves howling in the 
distance; there were also some foxes, a few bears and 
more wolverines. But game is very scarce. A few birds 
winter here, mostly eagles and ducks, also a few magpies 
and ravens on the coast. 



65 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Upon my report of conditions to the east, George de- 
cided to move toward the Alsek by this route. Accord- 
ingly, our Camp No. 3 was pitched about halfway through 
the forest that I had visited. 

This was a most comfortable camp, and we were here 
for some time. We had by now lost track of the days of 
the week, and were, in fact, not sure of the week. Some 
claimed it was the first Tuesday in February ; others that 
it was the last Friday in January, and so on. Romeo 
proved some help in this matter. He had a very heavy 
beard, and for thirty years had shaved on Saturdays and 
Tuesdays. Now, since he was not shaving, his face 
itched severely on the.^e days. If it was two days be- 
tween itches, we knew it was Tuesday; if three days, it 
was Saturday, so that he became a kind of human calen- 
dar, which we accepted and he proved in the end to be 
correct as to the days of the week. None of us had 
shaved since we left Seattle. Our beards were, of course, 
all over our faces, and we were rather frightful things to 
look at, especially on the trail, for the moisture of the 
breath condensing on the beard formed icicles and frost 
all around the mouth, which was not only hideous to look 
at, but most uncomfortable as well. 

The temperature was never so low as I had expected. 
We had no thermometer, but I do not think it was often 
below zero, and mostly just above that point. We never 
suffered at all at any time from cold, nor did any of us 
have a cold or a cough throughout the winter. 

While at Camp No. 3 Jess and I sank a little hole near 
a ravine that came down from the mountains and which 
conformed to our idea of a gold-bearing creek. We were 

66 



IN THE WOODS 

much surprised after getting down several feet to strike 
solid ice. I afterwards understood that this was a very 
common formation, both on the coast and on the inside 
of Alaska, where large areas covered with thick forest 
are underneath solid ice of an undetermined depth. 

Camp No. 4 was out on the prairie section that I have 
mentioned, in a grove of spruce. This place looked ex- 
actly like an abandoned farm. From here we followed 
the mountains and crossed a beautiful little lake about 
three miles across, and established Camp No. 4 at a spot 
very much resembling Camp No. 3. 

It was now about the middle of March. I think. We 
had worked so leisurely and shown so little energy and 
spirit that we had advanced only about fifty miles in about 
sixty days. All knew perfectly well that the expedition 
was a fraud, yet no one dared say so or refer in any way 
to any future plans. From Camp No. 4 George and Tom 
went forward a day's march to see if they could locate 
the Alsek River. They returned and reported the river 
about fifteen miles away. A great river, they said. The 
ice was breaking up and going out in great floes. 

The plan now was to build a boat and ascend this 
river, a feat about as easy as paddling a canoe up Mt. St. 
Elias. We could, of course, have built a boat, and of 
large size, for we had a number of cross-cut saws, and 
could have got out the timber very rapidly. How- 
ever, this river is not navigable for any craft on earth, for 
it flows through and under a series of glaciers. 

From Camp No. 4 we advanced about twelve miles and 
came to a deep and swift-running little river about fifty 
yards across. Earlier in the season we would have 

67 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

sledded over this stream without even knowing of its 
existence. However, it was beginning to thaw out now 
in the lowlands and along the coast, and many streams 
and lakes were appearing that had been until now en- 
tirely concealed from us. 

We established Camp No. 5 on the banks of this stream. 
There is nothing in nature so companionable as a river, 
and Precious and I were delighted to be on its banks and 
to be able to get away from that beastly crowd in the tent 
and stroll along its peaceful shores. Besides, there were 
many signs of coming spring now. Geese and swan were 
appearing in great numbers, and then one day a little 
robin redbreast came and sang to me his song of home 
and far away, and whispered back into my memory many 
things that made me sad. 

While we were in the tent one day a rifle shot was 
heard. We all jumped, startled. It was perfectly plain 
what was in everyone's mind for a moment, and a great 
relief came over us when it was seen that all were present. 
George went outside and answered this shot, which was 
proper and good manners in the woods, for be it under- 
stood that whenever you approach a habitation in the 
woods of the North, you must fire a shot, which is like 
sending in your card, so to speak. 

If the shot is answered, your host is in, otherwise you 
must not approach. If you wish to enter, you fire a sec- 
ond shot, which, if answered, means "come in, old fellow; 
I am glad to see you." George answered the second shot, 
and we all stood around to see who would appear. After 
some moments two men walked up, who proved to be that 



68 



IN THE WOODS 

Mr. Krowley and his man Brooks, or vice versa, as it 
may have been, the same we had met at Yakutat. 

We all crowded around for talk and for any news of 
the outside world. It seems that these people, supposing 
that we had something good up in the woods, had started 
about the first of March to find us. In this they had no 
trouble, since, having landed at the head of Enchantment 
Bay, they had found our trail and camping places and had 
simply followed us here. 

Their camp was about a mile away, and was presided 
over by the charming Mrs. Krowley in person. They in- 
formed us how Jack had been taken into Yakutat by a 
band of Indians and had gone down to "Frisco" on a fish- 
ing schooner. But what excited us most was the infor- 
mation that Spain and the United States were at war. 
Nothing as to the progress of the war was known, except 
that at the time of the declaration of war there was a 
Spanish fleet anchored in New York harbor, which had 
immediately turned its guns on the city, which was en- 
tirely destroyed, our informants said. 

This information, though incorrect, for war had not 
yet been declared, caused me to become very restless, and 
I at once began to plan some escape from my situation 
and to entertain hopes of entering the army. 

The Krowleys moved their camp up very near us, 
which was not pleasing to me, for I felt that the presence 
of that woman meant trouble. I was, therefore, more 
determined than ever to find some way to quit the party. 
I knew that the first steamer going south would arrive 
at Yakutat about the first of June, and I determined to 
catch that steamer if possible. 

69 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Romeo had been very unwell — in fact, had broken 
down so that he could practically do nothing. I therefore 
decided to approach him on the subject of going out. My 
plans were to take him down this little river into the 
Alsek, then down the Alsek to its mouth. From there we 
planned to walk the beach to Yakutat, a supposed dis- 
tance of about sixty miles. I went over the proposition 
with Jess, and invited him to join us. He entirely ap- 
proved of my plans as to Romeo, but decided himself to 
remain with the party, as he expressed it, "until hell 
freezes over." 

I was waiting to catch George in an amiable mood to 
suggest this plan to him, when an incident occurred that 
I have always thought assisted me very much in this 
matter. 

One day we were all lying in our tent, comfortable 
after supper, when suddenly Mrs. Krowley, accompanied 
by Mr. Krowley and Brooks, burst through the flap. Her 
hair was disheveled, one eye was black as from a blow 
and her face was white with rage. She advanced rap- 
idly and, pointing a finger at George, said, "That's the 
man !" George was already on his feet and with a rer 
volver leveled said, "Get out of this tent, damn you !" 
Tom also was on his feet with rifle clasped. It was a 
dramatic moment, and I felt my blood chill. George, as 
he stood in that pose, was the most dreadful-looking 
thing I have ever seen. Certainly the thing we had 
dreaded all winter would break here now. I glanced at 
Jess for a cue. His eyes were ablaze, but he made no 
move. Fortunately, the Krowleys immediately withdrew, 
without speaking a word. Nothing whatever was ever said 



70 



IN THE WOODS 

by anyone, so far as I know, about this incident. It would, 
indeed, have been dangerous to have done so, for the feel- 
ing in our camp had been growing worse all the time. 
Personally, of course, I believe that George had committed 
an assault upon that woman, who had come over there 
expecting that the camp would take her side, drive George 
out and take her in. However, she was not the type that 
men wage war over. She was no Helen of Troy, and 
there was no knighthood in our camp, anyway. So we 
all ignored the incident out of indifference and a positive 
fear that it would certainly lead to more serious hap- 
penings. 

I judged that this occurrence would affect George in a 
way that would cause him to be more favorable to my 
plans. For George, with all his wickedness, was no fool. 
He was as cunning as any rascal on earth, and as under- 
standing, too. 

If Romeo and I left the party, he would be relatively 
stronger in the camp and at a time, too, when he was 
threatened by foes from without. So the next day I ap- 
proached him on the subject. 

I found him perfectly willing and agreeable to my 
plans. He thought Romeo ought to be taken out by all 
means, and said that we could take anything whatever 
we wanted from the supplies and tools on hand. This was 
the whole thing, tools and supplies, so accordingly we 
made plans to leave at once. My first plan was to build a 
raft and drift down this little river that we were on into 
the Alsek, thence to the sea. This, however, was aban- 
doned after I had almost completed the raft, because one 
stormy night, as I lay in my bag, I heard the surf dis- 
tinctly pounding on the beach, and realized that we were 
very much nearer the sea than we had supposed. 

71 



CHAPTER VI. 
The Retreat, 

We left camp about the first of May. Many little buds 
were about to break, and in patches, where the snow had 
gone, numerous and wonderful wild flowers were begin- 
ning to appear. 

We took as much as we could carry, and our outfit 
consisted of two axes, two rifles with ammunition, two 
blankets each, frying pan, coffee pot and some pounds of 
bacon, hardtack, sugar, tea and other things. 

We said good-bye and shook hands with each member 
of the party. Edwards gave me a letter of identification 
and stopped me on the outskirts of the camp and said 
some complimentary things to me that he did not wish 
the others to hear, and entrusted me with two letters that 
he did not want George to know had gone forward. 
These I accepted and afterwards took the pains to mail 
in Sitka. 

There is one thing I must pass over rapidly here. That 
is Precious. He was, of course, not my dog, but had 
taken up with me, and I felt very deeply about him. I 
considered stealing him and letting him take a chance 
with me, though my own future was so uncertain and 
dark at that time. However, I finally decided not to do 
so, which was well, for I could never have got him 
through, as will be seen. So I left him with the others, 
hard as it was to do so. 

We had only gone a short distance before it became 



72 



THE RETREAT 

apparent that Romeo could carry hardly any burden, 
though, poor fellow, he was plucky. I had to gradually 
relieve him of his load, until I had both burdens, which 
were more than I could carry. 

We managed to get to the mouth of the river the first 
night, notwithstanding, and discovered that this river 
flows into Dry Bay, a huge bay when the tide is in and 
no bay at all when the tide is out. The Alsek River also 
flows into this bay. 

Here we spent a rather uncomfortable night. The 
next morning there were thousands of hair seals coming 
in with the tide. The surface of the water was crowded 
with their heads and graceful bodies sporting in the 
water as far as the eye could see. There are some Indians 
that are said to live around this bay, the small remnant of 
a tribe that are not on good terms with the Yakutats. 
However, I saw no indications whatever of them, and was 
relieved, for I had no desire to meet them in my present 
situation. 

Romeo being too weak to carry anything at all, I gave 
him a rifle and started him up the beach, while I would 
take a load and, going ahead several miles, put it down 
and go back for the second load. This was slow. How- 
ever, I was tied down to the pace that Romeo could make, 
anyway, and wanted to save as much of the supplies as 
possible, for it was now evident that we would be on the 
way much longer than calculated. 

The walking on the beach was very good, and the days 
were very long, so by keeping it up late at night I hoped 
to reach Yakutat in about five days. 

The third day out it rained all day, and we had a most 



73 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

uncomfortable night as well. I found that these double 
trips were too much for me, so I left behind some of our 
effects (an axe and some provisions), but went very 
heavily loaded as it was. Romeo was getting rapidly 
weaker, and had to walk with two sticks, and I began to 
consider whether or not I should take him back to camp. 

We proceeded on in the rain until one evening we 
came to a good sized stream, and going up this stream a 
short distance to discover a crossing, we found a very 
comfortable Indian hut or "bribary" built on the banks 
of this stream. There was no one there, but a consider- 
able amount of Indian belongings, such as paddles, traps 
and fishing apparatus. Having been out in the rain for 
two days and nights, this place seemed a palace to me. 

I built a fire and made some tea, and told Romeo that 
we would have to rest here for a day or two for him to 
recover his strength. I then walked down to the beach 
to gather some driftwood for the fire. The beach on this 
coast, from California up, is piled high with driftwood; 
it is a continuous line. Wherever there is a beach it is 
piled high with wood, and I estimate there must be 30,000 
miles of it. I had gathered an armful, when, looking up, 
I saw a figure standing not far away. I yelled and the 
figure turned and started to run. I dropped my wood and 
gave chase, yelling all the while. As I rapidly gained, the 
figure fell to the ground. Upon coming up I recognized 
Mrs. Krowley. She was dressed in what sailors call a 
Southwester, with hip rubber boots. She was badly 
frightened, having mistaken me for a Dry Bay Indian. 
She presented a pathetic sight, sitting there on the cold, 
wet ground, her eye still black from George's blow. 



74 



THE RETREAT 

When she recognized me she began to sob, and I sat down 
beside her and waited. Her frail Httle body was con- 
vulsed with emotion and despair, and I felt that, what- 
ever she was, I would do anything for her now. 

She told me that Krowley and Brooks were nearby, 
pitching camp, and that they had no provisions, except 
tea and a little hardtack. I went to her camp with her 
and apologized to Mr. Krowley for having frightened 
his bride. It seems that these people had started out 
immediately after their trouble with George, but had 
been lost in the forest for several days, and had just now 
come out on the beach. 

After looking over their situation, I invited them all 
to come down to my palace on the river, which invitation 
they very gratefully accepted. 

So we were five now, and had started with provisions 
for two. We all sat around the fire that night and got 
dry and warm for the first time in several days. 

A peculiar assertive feeling came over me. I may have 
been a little intoxicated by the large quantities of tea I 
had been drinking, for tea, if drunk in large quantities, 
will affect you a little that way. * 

Anyway, I announced in a most emphatic tone that from 
now on I would assume leadership of this party; that if 
anyone there did not like it, he or she could immediately 
leave my house. 

I told Brooks that he would get out at dawn and pro- 
ceed along the beach to a point about eight miles back, 
where he would find an axe and certain other things, 
which he would immediately bring to me, as I might need 
him further in the afternoon. 



75 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

I told Mrs. Krowley that we were not interested in the 
time when she was a society leader in West Milwaukee, 
but I hoped she would prove amiable and courageous in 
these circumstances and give Romeo whatever attention 
she could. 

Romeo was dumfounded at my speech and attitude, but 
pleased. Indeed, I was surprised at myself, but it v^rorked 
perfectly, and from that moment my word was law. In 
some such way as this, I imagine, the first petty monarch 
established himself on earth, though he had perhaps some- 
thing stronger than tea as an excuse. 

The next day and the next it rained and poured, and 
we did not move on account of Romeo's condition. He 
was very weak, and I was at a loss to know what to do 
with him. After two days we again started and, cross- 
ing the river with some difficulty, went on our way. 

We three men were loaded fairly well, but not too 
heavily, I having ordered a thirty pound sleeping bag be- 
longing to Mrs. Krowley to be left behind. No one said 
a word. 

Very shortly after crossing this river our troubles com- 
menced. Leaving the belt of timber land that skirted 
the river banks, we came out upon an extensive network 
of quicksand marshes. There was no timber growing 
in this belt, only clusters of Alder brush. It appeared to 
be about fifteen miles across to big timber, and to extend 
from the sea back to the foothills, which were also about 
fifteen miles away. I did not for the first day or two 
realize the difficulties and dangers that confronted us, 
and we pushed on as best we could. 

We would cross a short distance of this sand and then 



76 



THE RETREAT 

a short distance of solid earth, and so on without end. It 
was very heavy and slow traveling, for long detours had 
to be made. It was dangerous, too, for several times I 
had to lie down and roll over and over as rapidly as I 
could in order to get out. I dont' think we made over two 
miles the first day, when we camped in a cluster of Alder 
brush. 

Finally, the marshes became much worse, and in addi- 
tion thereto we came to numerous streams, some of them 
quite deep, which had to be waded. The banks of these 
streams were usually solid, but their bottoms proved 
treacherous, Krowley came very near, indeed, losing his 
life in one of them, and all of us had several narrow 
escapes more than once. 

The situation was, in fact, desperate in every way, and 
our provisions had been reduced to almost nothing. It 
was evident that we could make no headway in this place, 
and would surely perish if we persisted. I began to 
upbraid myself for not having more accurately read the 
terrain, for certainly the absence of timber here meant 
something, and we had actually seen what that something 
was in the beginning. Yet I had plunged blindly on, wast- 
ing much precious time, our provisions and strength. 

Impressed by this situation, I called the party together 
and announced that the route must be immediately aban- 
doned. Romeo, who was again almost in a state of col- 
lapse, could, in fact, go no further. I turned over to 
Krowley all the provisions we had except about a pound 
of tea and a handful of cracker dust that was in the bot- 
tom of my haversack. I told him to take his wife and 



77 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Romeo back to the cabin we had just left and to remain 
there until I sent some Indians up from Yakutat for them 
by boat. 

I explained to him that Brooks and I would make our 
way to the foothills, which were in sight, and, having 
found solid ground, would continue on to the head of En- 
chantment Bay, where he had left a good boat secured. 
In this we would proceed to Yakutat and would at once 
send some Indians to fetch them out. 

It was a hopeless and desperately depressed group that 
stood around me on that far away marsh. Mrs. Krowley 
gave way to tears; so did Krowley. However, there 
seemed nothing else to do. I started them off on their re- 
turn to the cabin, which I do not think was more than five 
miles away. They had provisions that with care would 
last for some days, and tea that would last for a month. 
We could see them for some distance after we parted, 
slowly making their way toward the cabin, poor Romeo 
bent over and walking with two sticks, very much re- 
sembling a crab, I thought, in the distance. 

Brooks and I then started on our long tramp for the 
foothills. We followed the banks of the stream we were 
on, but were still bothered and delayed very much by 
quicksand, and had to wade this stream many times. It 
was a tedious, dangerous and long tramp. It was the 
worst place I have ever seen, and what seemed curious to 
me was the number of dead fish that covered the whole 
surface of the earth for miles and miles. 

It seems that this place in July and August is covered 
with water from the melting snow in the foothills. The 
fish then come in here by the tens of thousands. At the 

78 



THE RETREAT 

first freeze the water recedes, leaving these fish to die. 
So the fish we now saw had been dead for about a year, 
and would soon be washed out to sea and others would 
take their place. 

Brooks, as a companion, proved amiable enough, 
though he was weak and would give way to fits of despair. 
At such times he talked incessantly of his little farm "back 
in Missouri," and would mourn and wail and swing him- 
self like a Baptist about to shout. We, of course, had no 
provisions at all, except tea without sugar. We drank 
great quantities of this, and always felt stimulated. 

It was, of course, a dreadfully rough trip, and we were 
growing weaker all the time, but what amazed me was 
that I did not suffer from hunger at all. I felt myself 
growing weaker each day, but had no pangs or uncom- 
fortable feeling at any time. In about forty-eight hours 
we succeeded in freeing ourselves from this dreadful 
quagmire and reached solid land. 

I knew the exact position of our old Camp No. 3 from 
its location near the base of an extinct volcano, whose 
top had been blown off in a peculiar way. We directed 
ourselves toward this camp, which was, in fact, not more 
than a dozen miles away, but we encountered many unex- 
pected difficulties. 

As soon as we reached the highlands we found several 
feet of snow, which was very soft, and we had no snow 
shoes. Often we had to plough through this up to our 
waist, and as a general thing it was knee deep. This 
delayed us dreadfully and absorbed our strength. There 
were, besides, many huge and extensive "wind-falls" of 
tangled trees in our paths, which are difficult things to 



79 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

scale, and also numerous streams to wade. In short, the 
entire aspect of the country had changed since I had 
passed through here during the winter. All of these 
things were covered up and frozen then, so that we 
passed over them without even knowing of their presence. 
It was very different now, and the difficulties were in- 
creased a thousandfold. 

Finally we became so weak that we had to stop every 
few hundred yards to rest. Brooks was constantly raving 
about his Httle farm "back in Missouri," and his face had 
taken on a deathly pallor. My shoulders were raw from 
the blanket straps, and they became an intolerable burden. 
It did not seem possible to carry them any farther, espe- 
cially over the "wind-falls," which had to be climbed. 
They were constantly catching in branches and snags, 
and we had some dangerous falls, for some of these 
"wind-falls" covered several acres and were from three 
to twenty feet high. 

So we discarded our blankets and proceeded with only 
our axes, rifles, a coffee pot, some tea and a big block of 
Chinese matches. This relieved us of a sore trial while 
moving, but it proved a great hardship at night, for it was 
still very cold and we got no rest at all after this, having 
to spend the night cutting wood and huddled closely be- 
side the fire. 

I thought at this time that we should surely reach the 
head of the bay in twenty-four hours. However, so im- 
mensely difficult was the task and so weak had we become, 
that it was forty-eight hours before we reached the mo- 
raines. During all this time I never felt the slightest 
doubt but that we should come through in perfect safety, 

80 



THE RETREAT 

though I realized, of course, that -we were having- a des- 
perate time and that there were still hardships to be met. 

While we were so weak for want of food, there were 
thousands of geese flying over our heads ; they were con- 
stantly flying, night and day, and often very low. We 
had been firing at them for days, but had never got 
even so much as a feather. Our ammunition now was 
almost exhausted. Finally, one evening, our last eve- 
ning in the woods, we came upon a flock that had alighted 
in a bottom. Brooks fired at them. Imagine our joy 
when one fell. We almost shouted. We cut that goose 
up and boiled him in the coffee pot. We had several pots 
full of it, and it was the best wild goose I have ever 
tasted, without salt or bread. 

That night we spent at our old Camp No. 3, and though 
we got no sleep again, we felt better and much stronger. 
From here on I was on very familiar ground. We started 
early the next morning for the moraine, which was only a 
few miles through the forest, and at the foot of this 
m.oraine we had left a boat that I now expected to secure 
and to proceed on our journey to Yakutat. 

Suppose the boat had disappeared, had been broken up 
by the ice or taken away? Then, indeed, we should be in 
desperate straits. There was no question about that. We 
approached the moraine, therefore, with much anxiety 
and with a feeling that we must rush and see as quickly 
as possible. 

As soon as we came out to the moraine, however, we 
thought no more of the boat, for the sight that met our 
eyes amazed us and we stood for a while stupefied. 

We came out on the moraine at a point about halfway 

81 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

between our old Camps No. i and No. 2, and from this 
point a view of the entire moraine was had. Immediately 
across from where we stood was a cluster of tents which 
extended all the way up to our Camp No. 2. Below, in 
the vicinity of our old Camp No. i, was another cluster 
of tents. Scattered along throughout the moraine itself 
were several hundred men, working away, pulling, pack- 
ing and carrying great loads; some of them even had 
horses, and they extended far up on to the glacier itself, 
where they looked like little flies perched on a great white 
wall. 

I was entirely bewildered, and a great feeling of dis- 
appointment came over me, for I thought that these peo- 
ple had made a rich strike on the spot where we had 
camped alone and wasted so much time. I fired my rifle 
and waited for an invitation to come over. This was 
answered from the front of several tents. I fired again 
and the invitation was repeated. We then crossed the 
moraine, which was here about a half-mile wide. 

As we struggled up the opposite bank several men met 
us, and we were at once invited in. The head of the 
party who received us was a man named Hearndon. He 
was from Chicago, and had charge of a small party of 
young men, "sons of well-to-do," some of whom, I soon 
gathered, had been running rather untamed along State 
Street. 

Hearndon was making men of them, and had several 
of them in harness and hitched to sleds, as he introduced 
them to me, giving at the same time some amusing little 
account of each. One was the son of a Senator of much 
influence in Washington at that time; the father of an- 

82 



THE RETREAT 

Other was a well-known banker and philanthropist of Chi- 
cago. I told Hearndon that we had had no food for 
some time, and we were immediately supplied with a hot 
meal of everything" that is best in camp. During the 
meal I told Hearndon that I belonged to the Stinson party, 
and gave him a rapid account of our experiences. Sev- 
eral other men were also in the tent. I told him that 
there was something very rotten about the Stinson party 
that I did not understand as yet. That we had not gone 
over that glacier at all, as he supposed we had ; that the 
glacier could not be crossed, in fact, and did indeed lead 
nowhere. 

I noticed several times a pained and peculiar look in 
Hearndon' s face. I went on, however, and told him 
that the Stinson party was at that moment some fifty 
miles down the coast, near Dry Bay. I then got a look 
and gesture which said most plainly "shut up." I was a 
little puzzled at this. The party in the tent had been 
increased by several while this was going on, and Brooks 
also was talking at a great rate, but mostly about his 
little farm ''back in Missouri" and the terrible hardships 
we had just gone through with. 

The meal over, Hearndon took me to another tent, 
where we conversed alone. He then explained to me that 
practically all of these people, the several hundred that 
were then encamped along the moraine, had been sent up 
there by Rennick and Pennick; that they all had letters to 
George Stinson, Bruce Gotten or some other member of 
the party, instructing said Stinson or Gotten to locate 
'bearer on certain placer diggings named and described as 
now held by said Stinson, Gotten or Lang for said 
Rennick, 

83 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Hearndon said that there were many men here who had 
paid their all for this purchase of a claim from Rennick; 
that very many of them were now suspicious of the whole 
thing and were desperate and discouraged. Therefore, 
he had stopped me from talking in the other tent as soon 
as he could, because he was not sure what the effect of 
my disclosure would be on this situation. 

He himself had nothing whatever to do with Rennick. 
He had merely come out to take care of a bunch of young 
fellows, mostly sons of his friends. Having heard that 
there was a great rush on to Yakutat, he had followed 
along, thinking this as good a place as anywhere to break 
in and give his young fellows experience. 

This was, of course, a great surprise and shock to me, 
and I began to see the light. I now understood Rennick's 
kindly interest in seeing that we got that $i a day and 
why. To insure this, he had insisted that the bank should 
give him a receipt each month for the amount placed to 
our credit. For did this not prove that Gotten, Lang and 
the rest of us were his caretakers in Alaska, and what 
better proof would any Iowa farmer want than this state- 
ment from a national bank? It was a wicked thing, this 
wholesale robbery of the credulous and simple-minded, 
and Rennick paid for it with his life. 

But to return to Hearndon. After full explanations I 
had a feeling that Hearndon was hesitating to say some- 
thing that was on his mind. I then asked him frankly 
what he thought the effect of my presence in camp would 
be. He was immediately relieved and said : "That is just 
what I have been thinking about." He said that there 
were many desperate men there; that they were now 

84 



THE RETREAT 

almost all out at work and scattered along the trail ; that 
when they returned my disclosures would be known 
throughout the camp. Well, he got up and went out of 
the tent for a few moments. When he returned he said, 
"If I were you, I should go on to Yakutat tonight. I can 
get you an Indian who will take you and Brooks down, 
and you can leave now." I said, "All right ; I will do 
so." He went for the Indian and I went to find Brooks. 

Brooks was seated on a pile of goods talking to some 
of Hearndon's party. The strangers who were in the 
tent while I was having my meal had disappeared. 

It was a wonderful day. The sun was a blaze of glory. 
I looked across the moraine that I knew so well and loved, 
too, for it had given me many, many interesting moments, 
and it seemed to belong to me, too, for I had it all to my- 
self, and now it was filled with all those idiotic farmers, 
who should have been at home attending to their wives 
and pigs, instead of coming here to ruin themselves and 
spoil the view. 

What Hearndon had really said to me was, that if I 
did not get out of camp before these men came in from 
work, I might be hanged. He did not use these words, 
but there was no mistaking his meaning. These men 
had been ruined. My own disclosures proved that, and 
certainly Stinson and the rest of us were associated in 
the fraud, and would look very proper on the short end 
of a rope. 

This, of course, did not appeal to me at all. I had left 
home prepared for any honorable adventure, but this was 
too much. The people at home would certainly never 

85 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

understand such a performance, and I should have been 
a disgrace to the family forever. 

I called Brooks and told him that we would leave at 
once for Yakutat. He protested, but when I told him 
of the situation and reminded him that there was a man 
named Brooks in the Stinson party, he became as meek 
as a lamb. 

Hearndon had sent the Indian to prepare the boat, and 
now told me that the Indians at Yakutat were very much 
excited, and that most of them had run away to the woods. 
It seemed that one of their medicine men had tied up 
some witches and had tortured one to death. The Gov- 
ernor had been appealed to, and had visited Yakutat in 
the little gunboat Wheeling. He tried to arrest the medi- 
cine man, but, being unable to find him, had fired the 
ship's guns and turned the searchlights on the village 
itself, which so frightened the Indians that they had fled. 

The Indian, however, who was to take me down, "Skoo- 
cum" Jim, was all right, he said, for he had been working 
for Hearndon for a week or two.* 

Hearndon walked with me almost to the beach, and 
asked me that if I got to Seattle to please try and find a 
Mr. Colton and to stop him from coming up. He said 
that Mr. Colton was from Kentucky, and had been an 
Episcopal minister, was a friend of his, and he wanted me 
to stop him from coming and thus save him a heavy ex- 
pense. He had no idea where I would find Mr. Colton in 
Seattle. 



"Skoocum" means strong, handsome, noble, true, brave and many 
other nice things, so if there is anything in a name, Jim should have 
been perfection. 

86 



THE RETREAT 

We found "Skoocum" Jim waiting for us at the foot 
of the moraine, where there was a store with all manner 
of things for sale, and on the site where our Camp No. i 
had been I noticed that the woods had been marked out 
in streets for the location of a town. I did not inquire as 
to what this new city was going to be called. Rennick- 
ville, I suppose, would have been a proper name, but I 
was not then suggesting anything to anybody, and felt 
no particular civic pride in the locality. 

Since this is an intimate relation, I must admit some- 
thing here that usually is not confessed except to one's 
closest pal. That is, that all the money I had was two 
$5 gold pieces that I had carried all winter securely sewn 
in the lining of my coat. As for Brooks, he did not have 
a penny. I cut them out here and purchased some sugar, 
bacon and hardtack, and paid the Indian $6 for the trip 
in advance. At Yakutat, however, I sold this same In- 
dian my rifle, or rather the rifle I had, for $i8, so I was 
still far from broke. 

We started immediately, about 4 o'clock in the after- 
noon. The boat was an Indian canoe, dug out and 
equipped with a small sail in the bow, which was a great 
help in places. 

We traveled all night and until about 9 o'clock the 
next morning without any stop, for indeed there were no 
places where we could stop. This night and this trip 
have always stood out in my memory as the night of all 
horrors. Certainly in my life I have never suffered such 
frightful pain and such prolonged agony as on this occa- 
sion. We were both, of course, as can be judged from 
this little description I have given, in an advanced stage 

87 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

of exhaustion. It was true, we had food now, but we 
were full of bruises and stiffness, my feet were much 
swollen, and I ached all over. But what caused us by far 
the greatest agony was our need of sleep. We had had no 
sleep at all to speak of for over seventy hours, and very 
little, indeed, since we left the Indian hut on the river. 
As the sun got low my eyes began to pain me fearfully. 
My eyelids seemed like lead and spikes seemed to have 
been driven into my pupils. It was fearfully cold, and 
we had no blankets or shelter of any kind. To sleep 
meant certain death, either by freezing or by falling out 
of the canoe, which was too small to lie down in. There 
was nothing to do but to paddle and suffer. 

There were many icebergs in the bay, and I am sure 
I was delirious at times, for I had visions and saw 
many unreal things, such as great ships and groups of 
men and animals fighting among these icebergs. These 
ships were most distinct, and sometimes passed so near 
that I feared we would be run down. They were all of 
ancient design and carried men armed with spears and 
axes and protected with armor and shields like the 
cohorts in Caesar's Legions. 

I never lost my senses and knew that these things could 
not exist, yet they were so real to me that when we landed 
on a little island the next morning, I took pains to let the 
Indian go ashore first, though he had to crawl over me 
to do so. I was not at all sure it was a real island. 
Brooks was suffering, too, and groaned a great deal, 
though I never knew what particular form his agony 
took. We had hot tea and breakfast on this island and 
felt better. We were at the mouth of Enchantment Bay, 

88 



THE RETREAT 

and from here on for a distance of about five miles we 
were exposed to the full swell from the ocean as it swept 
into Yakutat Bay. It was entirely too rough for a canoe, 
and how we ever made it and were not all drowned 
has always been a mystery to me. This Indian was a 
master boatman, but even he at times was alarmed. 

To make a dangerous situation worse, Brooks, when 
we were in the midst of this passage and under full sail, 
seemed to be seized with some form of mental disorder. 
He began to throw himself from side to side and turn 
himself about. The boat was all but capsized several 
times. The Indian threw off his coat in order to take to 
the water. As for me, I could not have lived five minutes 
in that water, and the shore was fully two miles away. 
We were facing certain death if Brooks was not quieted 
instantly. He was seated in front of me, on the forward 
seat of the boat, and I was facing his back, but during 
these contortions he had got himself turned around in 
some way and was now seated facing me. 

I reached forward and struck him as hard as I could 
with my fist squarely in the mouth. He fell over in the 
boat, his back and shoulders on the bottom, his legs 
hanging over the seat. Most fortunately, he fell square 
and did not move, or we should have been lost. I crawled 
forward between his knees and told him not to move or 
the boat would be capsized. He said, "Is that you, Cot- 
ten?" and lay perfectly still. I crouched over him and 
watched him and cautioned him occasionally. His lips 
began to swell, and a tiny little stream of blood trickled 
down on his beard. I had a big feeling of sorrow for 
him then, and affection, as he lay there perfectly still, 
thank God. 

89 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Fortunately, we were soon out of this rough water, 
for we had sailed it at good speed. We came under the 
lee of a little island, called Hat Island, because of its 
shape like a hat. To my joy, I saw several tents pitched 
there. "Skoocum" said they were Indians fishing. I told 
him to go ashore, for I wanted to get Brooks up. We 
found quite a party of Indians camped there. They re- 
ceived us with open arms and with more tokens of friend- 
ship than I had ever seen Indians show before. 

We got Brooks up and took him in a tent where there 
was a stove. We warmed up and drank tea. These In- 
dians were so polite and considerate that I was mystified, 
and finally became suspicious, for Indians are never 
thoughtful of your comfort and considerate in a way these 
Indians were. Besides, they insisted upon giving us 
their own tea, which was extraordinary, I thought, for 
they value tea beyond anything on earth, and are rarely 
able to keep themselves supplied with it. 

I kept hearing a peculiar noise in an adjoining tent, 
and feeling now somewhat suspicious, I got up and 
walked over to this tent and went in. There I found, 
seated around the body of a dead woman, several Indians, 
among whom was the old medicine man. They were hav- 
ing some ceremony and putting hot rocks to the body in 
an effort to restore her life. The odor in the tent was 
frightful, and I withdrew, more suspicious than ever, for 
I remembered what Hearndon had told me about the Gov- 
ernor trying to arrest this medicine man, and I sur- 
mized that his followers here perhaps thought that we 
were looking for him and might take him away. 

I do not, of course, know whether these Indians medi- 



90 



THE RETREAT 

tated any mischief toward Brooks and myself or not ; any- 
way, I felt very suspicious of them. They might have 
poisoned the tea, which I now seemed to remember 
tasted rather queerly, and the more I thought of this the 
more queerly I remembered the tea had tasted. 

Though being killed by Indians on an island was much 
more romantic than being hanged by white men on the 
mainland, yet I was not prepared for this either, so I de- 
cided to leave the island at once. "Skoocum" said that 
Yakutat was not so far away, and pointed out to me and 
illustrated by a drawing on the ground that by using a 
portage across a narrow island that lay between us we 
could make it that night. We started immediately, 
Brooks perfectly quiet and apparently much better. 
Brooks, I might say, never remembered anything at all 
about the latter part of this trip. I lived with him for 
about two weeks afterwards, and he had no recollection 
whatever of that episode in the boat, or of being on this 
island at all. 

Our way from here was through quiet waters and 
among numerous small islands. We reached the portage 
and carried our boat about lOO yards across an island. 
From here we could see Yakutat ; in fact, we were imme- 
diately in front of the town, and it was only a question 
now of crossing over a distance of about two miles. 

We landed in front of Johnson's store. It was about 
lo o'clock at night, though the sun was shining brightly. 
Johnson received us most kindly, seated us beside a big 
iron stove that had been made from a Standard Oil drum, 
and started some of his squaws preparing a meal for us. 

I became warm and dry. I could feel my whole ner- 



91 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

vous system relaxing with jerks and twitches. All my 
troubles seemed to be gone, and I was drifting away. 
Johnson seemed to be talking in the distance. I remember 
seeing some hot rolls, some butter and steaming coffee. 
But that was the last. I passed away, asleep. 



92 



CHAPTER VII. 
Back to Seattle. 

Sometime the next morning I awoke in Johnson's 
store, where I had been placed away on a cot and cov- 
ered with blankets. They had got my shoes off with 
difficulty, and my feet were very sore and swollen. Oth- 
erwise I felt very well, surprisingly well, considering. 
Johnson prescribed hot sea water for my feet, and I got 
"Skoocum" to get me some from the bay and heat it. 
This seemed to help very much. I continued this for sev- 
eral days, and the swelling passed entirely. "Skoocum" 
had taken a great fancy to my rifle and was around two 
or three times a day to buy it. I told him Iwould not sell 
it to him now, but that if he would bring me that hot sea 
water twice a day, when my feet got well I would let 
him have it. This he did faithfully, and I sold him this 
rifle for $i8. 

My first thought, of course, was to relieve Romeo and 
the Krowleys from their predicament in the cabin down 
the coast, and with Johnson's assistance two Indians were 
at once dispatched in a boat, who brought them in safely, 
the round trip taking only about three days. It seems 
that the Indians knew these quicksand marshes well, and 
would under no circumstances enter them. However, 
there was a short cut to that cabin by way of a portage 
and river called Ancow, which, if we had known it, 
w^ould have saved us great trouble and hardships. Romeo 
arrived looking better for his rest in the cabin, but very 



93 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

morose and sour. He and the Krowleys were taken in at 
the Mission, and were very comfortable there. 

Johnson's sense of humor and amusing ways was a 
fine tonic, and did much to brace me up. Feehng, how- 
ever, that we ought not to land ourselves on him, I rented 
the front room of Steve's cottage — the same Steve who 
had brought us here and who had recently been hanged 
on the Valdez Glacier. His young squaw was glad to 
get $2.50 per week for permitting us to sleep on the 
floor and furnish our own blankets, which Johnson loaned 
us. This was an attractive little room for these parts, 
and was the "drawing room" of the cottage. There were 
several "icons" on the wall and some decorated skins 
and bead work. There was also a looking-glass that 
threw me into hysterics, for I had not seen myself for 
over six months. I walked over to this mirror, and the 
sight of myself was a dreadful and painful thing to be- 
hold. I wept and laughed in turn. It did not seem pos- 
sible that I could ever look like that. So far as I could 
recall, there was not a single feature of my old self left. 
My face was covered with a shaggy, colorless beard, ex- 
cept at two spots at the corners of my mouth, which were 
entirely bare. I looked like a terrible Siberian convict. 
My clothes, too, were in keeping with my appearance — 
torn, stained and all out of shape. My heavy hob-nailed 
shoes were much worn and patched in places. I looked 
very different, indeed, from the dandy that had so aston- 
ished the Governor of Alaska six months before. The 
skin of my face, however, wherever visible was of a 
milky whitness and as soft as that of a baby. This was 
caused, I was told, from so long bathing in snow water. 



94 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

I knew that I had to improve my appearance if I wished 
to get along any further in the world and have any decent 
companions. So I finally succeeded in borrowing a razor, 
and so darned and cleaned my clothing that I looked very 
handsome and well groomed in comparison. 

Now commenced the wait for the steamer Dora, which 
was expected in about ten days. As has been inferred, I 
had not sufficient funds to pay for a passage to Seattle. 
My intention was to go aboard when the steamer arrived 
and induce the purser to take me down on my promise 
to pay at Seattle. I expected Edwards' letter to assist 
me in this. Failing — well, I had no plans, only I was 
going down on that steamer if it was humanly possible. 

Brooks and I continued to live at the cottage, doing 
our own cooking. Romeo did not visit me at all, but held 
himself aloof, and seemed to have attached himself to the 
Krowleys, whom I disliked. This rather pained me, and 
I have never understood it. The days were very long 
and full of sunshine. I recall sitting outside and reading 
a book until after 1 1 o'clock at night. There were a num- 
ber of white men in Yakutat waiting to go down on the 
Dora. 

Shortly after my arrival, a Mr, Wilcox came to my 
"drawing room" and introduced himself to me. Wilcox 
was a mining engineer and investigator. He was about 
fifty years of age, I should say, and was from Minnesota,; 
where he had a real wife and family. As we got better 
acquainted I learned that he represented an English min- 
ing syndicate and, having spent his entire life in this 
business, was familiar with all the mining districts in 
America, 

95 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Wilcox was of the old school of mining men, a school 
that had its beginning in the days of '49, which had a 
very different soul and psychology from this thing that 
was now developing in Alaska. His was the open man- 
ners of the Rockies, while that of these people in this 
rush was that of the city tough intermingled with agrarian 
provincialism. 

He was a large man, self-educated and without culture. 
He was a revelation to me, as gentle as a child and as 
rough as a bull, but he had, as I found, a heart of gold. 
He is dead now, and may God rest his big soul. 

Wilcox told me that this rush to Yakutat had caused 
considerable excitement below, and that his company had 
insisted upon his coming here and seeing what it was all 
about. He had got in on the first trip of the Dora 
going north, and had seen at a glance that it was all about 
nothing. He had learned that the whole thing had been 
started by Pennick, and that was enough for him. He 
had known of Pennick since he was a boy, and told me a 
great deal about him (Pennick) and his career, some of 
which has been used in this narrative. When I told him 
of the Stinson party and Pennick's connection therewith, 
he was immensely interested, and we became fast friends. 
He came to my "drawing room" every day, and we had 
many long chats and came to know each other well. 

One day a schooner came into the harbor with a new 
party. This was a rather large party, and among their 
possessions were two horses. As there was no place to 
land these animals, they were thrown overboard some dis- 
tance out in the bay and made to swim ashore. The 
beach was lined with the usual crowd of old men, squaws 

96 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

and children, who deHght in sitting out on sunny days to 
air themselves, wrapped in blankets. When these horses 
came up on the beach, there was a panic, the like of which 
had never been known in Yakutat before, for none of 
these people had ever seen a horse, and the sight of the 
devil himself arising from the water could not have 
caused greater terror. The town was entirely depopulated 
in a few minutes ; even the dogs betook themselves to the 
forest, and some of the Mission people had to go out and 
gradually coax them back. 

The head and financial backer of this new party was 
a man whose name I did not record, and for this I am 
sorry, for he enters somewhat into this relation. I am 
entirely unable to recall his name, though I saw much of 
him for a while. However, if someone will look up the 
Seattle papers for the latter part of June, 1898, his name 
will be found in a column or two devoted to a spectacular 
fight he had with Rennick in the Seattle Hotel one mid- 
night. 

This Mr. X — , as we will call him, was from Duluth, 
and was said to be a prominent business man there. He 
had been president of the Chamber of Commerce, was 
about forty years of age, and had with him as friend and 
assistant a Mr. Hall. 

Wilcox brought him up to my "drawing room" and 
told me that Rennick had swindled him out of about 
$75,000, mostly in expenses, I presume. After my dis- 
closures Mr. X — decided to send the schooner back and 
to return himself on the Dora. 

A few days before the Dora arrived, Wilcox asked me 
if I was going down on her. I told him I was if I could 



97 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

do SO, but that much depended on the purser, as I had 
hardly any money at all. His answer to this made such 
an impression on me that I can swear to his exact words 
to this day. He ran his hand in his pocket and, drawing 
out a large roll of bills, said, "Mr. Gotten, if you will be 
so kind as to state what amount of money you require, 
I will be delighted to let you have it." Here was gener- 
osity for you, and faith, too, and I was, of course, im- 
mensely pleased. I started to tell him that he knew noth- 
ing whatever about me, but he refused to listen, and said 
that I had inspired a confidence in him which he hoped he 
would have inspired in me had our situations been re- 
versed. That if he lost a hundred or so by me, he would 
not mention it to a soul, and that it did not in the least 
matter, anyway. 

I finally told him that if he would pay my fare and 
expenses down to Seattle, it would indeed relieve me 
of much embarrassment, and that I was in position to 
repay him upon arrival. This was indeed a fine thing for 
Wilcox to do, for I looked a tramp, and he knew nothing 
whatever of me. 

In the meantime, Brooks had found a friend from 
"back in Missouri," and had been taken off my hands; 
Romeo and the Krowleys also managed to get in the steer- 
age of the Dora when she arrived. Romeo seemed to be 
awfully peeved about something, and I only saw him once 
on the boat. Brooks thought that Romeo was displeased 
because I had not secured him in the good graces of Wil- 
cox. This, however, I could not do, because Wilcox sim- 
ply would have nothing whatever to do with either Brooks 

or Romeo. 

98 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

Wilcox wanted to visit Juneau on business, and in- 
sisted upon my stopping over with him. This I could 
not very well refuse under the circumstances, though I 
wanted so much to hurry south and enter the army. So 
we left the Dora at Sitka and awaited an opportunity to 
get over to Juneau. 

After leaving Yakutat Wilcox really looked after me 
like a father. He began to call me lad, and came near 
throwing a rather neatly dressed man overboard because 
he left his seat that was next to mine at the table. Wil- 
cox thought he did this on account of my rough appear- 
ance, which was probably true, and, though I must say 
I could hardly blame him myself, Wilcox thought other- 
wise, and gave him a call down the like of which I have 
never heard in my lifetime. 

This man was badly frightened, and was not seen on 
deck again. His "biled shirt" was too immaculate and his 
collar too high, besides he had a sweet tenor voice, a com- 
bination entirely fatal to fellowship in this land of 
Chanooke. Wilcox would also come around every day or 
two and push a ten or twenty dollar bill in my pocket. 
Of these he kept no account whatever, and when we got 
to Seattle and he finally rendered a bill, I already had 
more than enough of his own money in my pocket to pay 
him with. 

This caused some argument, and we finally settled by 
my turning over to him all the money I had in my pocket 
ufK)n arrival, plus the fare and other expenses that could 
be remembered. 

We remained in Sitka several days. When we went up 
to our room at the hotel that night, the Indian porter told 



99 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

US with pride that Madame Sarah Bernhardt had recently- 
occupied that same room, but what interested me most 
was real beds, such as I had not seen for six months. Mine 
had sheets on it, and they tickled me so that I could not 
sleep for a long time. Here we heard of Dewey's victory 
over the Spaniards in Manila Bay. No one knew at all 
where Manila was, and a fierce argument went on at 
the hotel for several days. Finally someone discovered a 
map, which showed Manila to be in the Spice Islands. 
After a few days a yacht belonging to the Alaska Pack- 
ers' Association came in and offered to take us over to 
Juneau. It was a beautiful trip of one day, through the 
islands and across the entrance of Glacier Bay. Juneau 
is a wonderful spot. Across the narrow strait on Douglas 
Island is Douglas City, where are situated the Tredwell 
mines, the largest stamp milling property in the world. 

At Juneau we had quite an interesting experience, for 
in the hotel here were stopping both "Nigger Jim" and 
"Swift Water Bill" Gates. These were very prominent 
Klondike millionaires, and until quite recently had been 
just ordinary tramps. They were each occupying entire 
floors at the hotel and were accompanied by numerous 
retainers, including a number of girls from the under- 
world. 

"Nigger Jim" was a common white man from Lou- 
isiana, who had acquired his name from the fact that he 
spoke like a negro. He had taken out, it is said, about 
$800,000 from the Klondike section, and was now at the 
height of his glory. This fortune was entirely squandered 
in about two years, and in 1904 he was pointed out to me 
in Skagway, where he was working as a common laborer 
at $2.50 a day. 

100 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

"Swift Water Bill" Gates was more presentable than 
"Nigger Jim." He was said to have possessed more 
than a million, which he likewise entirely squandered in 
a year or two, during which process he married three 
sisters in rapid succession. 

They were both unique and widely known characters 
as long as their money lasted, and the whole of Juneau 
felt their presence on this occasion. It was a noisy, 
drunken and riotous time, and I remember coming in one 
evening, when the crowd had got too drunk to be noisy, 
and found "Nigger Jim" and "Swift Water" quietly 
sitting at a table drinking champagne out of the bottle 
and cutting the cards for $5,000 a cut. 

These notables were being held here on account of the 
situation in Skagway, where a famous gambler, "Sopey" 
Smith, had seized control of things and was openly rob- 
bing everybody that came through the town. "Sopey" 
had himself elected Mayor of the town, and immediately 
inaugurated a reign of terror. This lasted for about six 
weeks, during which time fully fifty people were mur- 
dered in cold blood. "Sopey" himself was finally killed, 
but succeeded in killing at the same time his adversary, 
and they are both buried in Skagway, side by side. 

Upon the arrival of the City of Seattle, we proceeded 
down through the wondrous inside passage into Puget 
Sound, and arrived at Seattle on the 14th of June. There 
were a number of miners and gamblers aboard, and some 
of the atmosphere of "Swift Water Bill" lingered with 
us still. The captain kept a roster of the boys who should 
answer bells and wait on the poker parties that were go- 
ing on, and it was said that the tips received by some of 



lOI 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

these boys on a single trip often exceeded the captain's 
pay for a month. 

On the way down I saw in a paper that my brother, 
Lyman Gotten, had graduated from the United States 
Naval Academy and had been assigned to the U. S. S. 
Columbia, thereby starting a career that has been brilliant 
and most creditable to himself and to the family as well. 

My first day in Seattle was spent shopping and in a 
barber shop, where I got a shave, haircut, singe, sham- 
poo, massage and manicure. When I appeared for din- 
ner that night Wilcox was most enthusiastic over my ap- 
pearance. He had never seen me in a "biled" shirt, and 
hardly knew me. That evening we went to a theatre. 
Next to me sat a gentleman, alone, with whom I began 
to converse. It proved to be Mr. Colton, and I delivered 
Hearndon's message upon the first evening I arrived, 
which was most fortunate, for he was leaving in two 
days for Yakutat. 

We both thought this a queer coincidence. He came to 
see me the next morning and we started to church. On 
the way we met Dr. Shelton Jackson. Mr. Colton knew 
Dr. Jackson, and introduced me to him and we all went to 
church together. Dr. Jackson was at that time regarded 
the best living authority on everything pertaining to 
Alaska. 

I again went to the Globe Hotel and quickly got in 
contact with what friends I had in Seattle. All received 
me warmly and were much interested in this story. I 
began to study the war and to make plans to enter the 
army at once. Wilcox did nq^t approve of this entirely, 
and offered me a place in some works of his in Idaho, but 



1 02 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

I felt the call of the soldier, and Wilcox finally said good- 
bye with a big bear hug, and I never saw him again, 
though I have thought of him often and his great kind- 
ness to me. I shall never see his like again. 

Only one other thing need be recorded here. Very 
early one morning, before anyone was up, there came a 
knock on my door and a whisper, "Open the door, Cot- 
ten; it is Rennick." I opened the door, and it was Ren- 
nick indeed. Not the Rennick that I knew, with blue 
shirt and mackinaw, but Rennick, the immaculate, if you 
please. Rennick with whiskers nicely trimmed, tailored 
suit, gloves and walking cane. He came in and I locked 
the door behind him and stood against it. Many people 
in Seattle were looking for Rennick. Mr. X — , at the 
Seattle Hotel, was most anxious to find him. In every 
hotel in Seattle there were people looking for Rennick, 
and here he was in my room at sunrise. 

I was so surprised that I could make no decision as to 
how I ought to act, and ended in making a mess of the 
opportunity I had. He asked me why I had left the 
party, and said I had ruined him by coming back and 
spreading all those reports. I stopped him and began 
talking in a rough and threatening way. Rennick was 
alarmed and thought that I was going to do him bodily 
harm, for he was physically a great coward. He began 
to beg piteously. He insisted that he had been robbed 
by Pennick and betrayed by that beast of a George, and 
put up a most pathetic tale. I again began to feel the 
effect of this man's personality, which was most curious 
and hypnotic in some way. 

I began to weaken and then let him go entirely, feeling 



103 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

rather sorry for liim, I almost immediately repented. I 
should have listened to what he had to say, learned his 
plans and then acted. As it was, I do not know to this 
day why he came to my room at sunrise, but I am sure 
he had something very interesting up his sleeve. 

I dressed hurriedly and went to Wilcox and got him 
out of bed. Wilcox said I had behaved like a ten-year- 
old, but told me to hurry to the room of Mr. X — and 
inform him that Rennick was in town. Mr. X — 
and Hall were much excited and immediately began a 
search of the town. But no Rennick was found. Mr. 
Rennick was a most difficult man to find ; he kept rooms 
in many hotels in many places, and had spies at them all, 
usually some of the desk clerks, and they covered him 
up and lied for him splendidly. 

Mr. X — , however, persevered in his search, and 
finally ascertained that Rennick would most likely be 
found in Portland. He detailed Mr. Hall, who was 
unknown to Rennick, to undertake the search and to ar- 
range to bring Mr. X — and Rennick together. 

Mr. X — 's sole object in this was to adminster to 
Rennick a sound thrashing, and he vowed that he would 
never be happy again until he had in person administered 
such punishment. "A little piece of his hide," as he 
expressed it, would to some extent atone for the injury 
done and console him in his declining years for having 
been such a fool in his younger days. 

Accordingly, Hall was dispatched to Portland, where 
he shortly located Rennick in one of the smaller hotels. 
He took a room at this hotel and let it be known that 
he was from the Middle East; that he had sold out his 



104 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

business and wanted to go to Alaska. He even showed 
the head clerk a large roll of hundred-dollar bills, and 
said he would invest in something- in Alaska, provided it 
was something sufficiently promising and sure. 

Rennick, of course, had nothing but "sure things" to 
offer, and the presence of easy money in the lobby soon 
brought him from his seclusion. Hall was advised by one 
of Rennick's spies to see Mr. Rennick, who was described 
as a wealthy and successful miner and the owner of valu- 
able properties in Alaska. 

It was insinuated that Rennick was a great personal 
friend of the Secretary of the Interior, and could do 
things in Alaska forbidden to the less favored. 

Hall appeared interested, and asked to see Mr. Ren- 
nick. Mr. Rennick was very busy, as usual, but after 
some delay gave him an appointment. Hall stated his 
situation ; said that he had sold out his packing business 
in Quincey; that the Trust had driven him out, and that 
he never expected to go East again. 

Rennick was very abusive of the Trust, Hall said, and 
after a while, seeing that he was a deserving man, offered 
to sell him certain interests in mining property located 
near Yakutat. Rennick said that he had been developing 
this district secretly for some years, but that the thing 
was out now and that the entire section ought to be lo- 
cated as quickly as possible, before Congress changed 
the laws and put a stop to the whole thing. He showed 
Hall a pile of blueprints, and told him of a number of 
people who were in there, mentioning by name among 
others Mr. X — , who, he said, would certainly make a 
million. 

105 



AN ADVENTURE IN ALASKA 

Hall, as can be understood, was very much interested in 
this prospect, and deeply impressed with the opportunity. 
After some further negotiations, he told Rennick that he 
had but $5,000, but that a friend of his named Adams 
had come west with him for exactly the same purpose 
as himself; that Adams had about $10,000, but had gone 
to Seattle. He so much desired to bring Mr. Rennick 
and Adams together, and himself wanted to go in with 
Adams on this proposition. 

Hall then tried (?) to get Adams to come down to 
Portland, but Adams would not come, and Hall showed 
Rennick his letter, wdiich looked so promising that Ren- 
nick finally consented to run over to Seattle, though he 
was so busy he could only spend a couple of hours there. 

Hall and Rennick arrived in Seattle at midnight, and 
Mr. Adams (X — ) was waiting to receive them in his 
room at the Seattle Hotel on Yestler Way. 

Mr. Hall took Rennick to Mr. X — 's room and locked 
the door behind him. Mr. X — then stepped from be- 
hind a screen and with his bare fists began to extract 
that "bit of hide" that he so ardently craved. In a few 
seconds Rennick lay sprawling on the floor, yelling and 
screaming with all his might. Mr. X — continued to 
administer his punishment, until suddenly he realized 
that the entire hotel was in an uproar and panic. Some- 
one had turned in a fire alarm, half-clad men and women 
were rushing through the halls, boxes and trunks were 
being tumbled around, children crying and the office force 
rushing about trying to locate the trouble. 

Mr. X — opened the door and he and Hall went out 
and tried to calm things down by explaining to the 

106 



BACK TO SEATTLE 

ladies and apologizing for what had occurred. It was 
some time before quiet was restored, during which time 
Rennick vanished, leaving on the floor a very pretty little 
gold nugget, which had rolled out of his pocket during 
the melee. This Mr. X — secured and valued very much 
as a souvenir of his experiences. 

Shortly after this a plain man came down from Yaku- 
tat, one of the many such that had been ruined by Ren- 
nick's extraordinary cunning and cruel dishonesty. He 
sought Rennick, too, quietly, himself and alone. He 
found him, and his bullet found its mark. I should say 
that if Rennick could have talked to that man for one 
minute and looked him in the eye, he would not have shot 
him. 

Now I have come to the end of this narrative. It is a 
true story, and a curious tale for one like me. I have 
often examined myself in an effort to discover if any evil 
remained therefrom, if any mud had stuck to my character 
in the passing. I think not. I learned much of the 
world, and saw much that was not beautiful in man, but 
it did not affect me badly. Though I met George, I also 
met Wilcox, and I took more of Wilcox than I did of 
George, and went on in my way to other things, and am 
not sorry. 

[finis.] 



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